New Round of UN-Led Syria Talks Set for Nov. 28

United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura speaks to the media during a news conference after briefing the Security Council in Geneva, Switzerland, late February 26, 2016. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy
United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura speaks to the media during a news conference after briefing the Security Council in Geneva, Switzerland, late February 26, 2016. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy
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New Round of UN-Led Syria Talks Set for Nov. 28

United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura speaks to the media during a news conference after briefing the Security Council in Geneva, Switzerland, late February 26, 2016. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy
United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura speaks to the media during a news conference after briefing the Security Council in Geneva, Switzerland, late February 26, 2016. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy

A new round of UN-led talks aimed at ending Syria's six-year war will take place in Geneva from November 28, UN envoy Staffan de Mistura said Thursday.

De Mistura, speaking to the United Nations Security Council via teleconference from Geneva, said the next round of talks should focus on the drafting of a new constitution and on a path toward United Nations-verified elections.

The talks will follow up on a meeting next week in the Kazakh capital of Astana between Russia, Iran and Turkey that is also aimed at achieving a settlement.

De Mistura told the UN Security Council that with the defeat of terror group ISIS in their strongholds of Raqqa and Deir Ezzor, the Syrian peace process had reached a "moment of truth."
"We need to get the parties into real negotiations," the envoy said.

Seven rounds of talks have achieved only incremental progress toward a political deal, with negotiations deadlocked over the fate of Syrian regime head Bashar al-Assad.

The opposition is demanding that any settlement provide for a transition of power to end Assad's rule but as government forces make gains on the battleground, there is little likelihood of a breakthrough on that issue.

The Geneva talks -- the eight round convened by the United Nations -- must focus on steps toward drafting a new constitution and holding UN-supervised elections in Syria, De Mistura said.

More than 330,000 people have died and millions have been driven from their homes in the conflict in Syria.



Lebanon: Israeli Strike in Tyr Kills Two Women, Injures 19

Border fence between Lebanon and Israel (AFP)
Border fence between Lebanon and Israel (AFP)
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Lebanon: Israeli Strike in Tyr Kills Two Women, Injures 19

Border fence between Lebanon and Israel (AFP)
Border fence between Lebanon and Israel (AFP)

In the early hours of Friday, an Israeli strike on a building east of the port city of Tyr left two civilian women dead and more than a dozen wounded, many of them children, according to two Lebanese security sources.
Asked about the incident, the Israeli military said it was looking into it.
Lebanon’s An-Nahar newspaper named the victims, noting that one of the women was a paramedic of Al Risala Association for Health Care.
"Israeli media said the strike was an assassination mission", the newspaper quoted sources close to Hezbollah as saying.
The victims and the injured were civilians, added the sources, noting that rescue operations continue to pull survivors from under the rubble.
Hezbollah said in a statement earlier that it had fired volleys of Katyusha and Falaq rockets at six Israeli military locations. Its Al-Manar television reported more than 100 rockets fired at once.