Syrian peace talks end with only ''incremental progress''


Syria's government delegation, led by Bashar al-Jaafari, returned to United Nations headquarters Wednesday afternoon for a meeting with talks mediator Staffan de Mistura. A USA official confirmed that an airstrike in southern Syria occurred on Thursday, though it was unclear if Syrian government troops were there. "I hope we can have a true political achievement in soon time", Hariri said.

But late Thursday, eight rebel groups suspended their participation in the HNC's delegation, expressing dissatisfaction with the decision-making process at the talks.

Tuesday's start of talks in Geneva were overshadowed by US accusations that the government in Damascus carried out mass killings at a prison near the Syrian capital and then burned the victims' bodies in a crematorium. Our ambition is supreme because we want to constantly focus on the fight against terrorism, "he said".

The last day of the consultations was marred by a strike the pro-Washington coalition delivered at a column of government forces.

De Mistura said he was planning to set up a unified expert team of the opposition but he had failed to secure seats for the Moscow and Cairo opposition groups on it.

As a result, the parties to the talks managed to coordinate and launch this mechanism but its further importance for the negotiations process, as the differences between Syrian government and the opposition on the fundamental issues remain wide and unbridged. Experts from De Mistura's Office met separates with the governmental delegation and then with representatives of the oppositionist High Negotiations Committee. Media reports and doctors in the area said some of the killed, which included women and children, were beheaded and others dismembered. Most of the residents belong to the Ismaili branch of Shiite Islam.

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United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has been meeting separately with Syrian government and opposition delegations this week during the latest round of talks, hoping to bridge gaps between the rival sides, while ensuring any outcome is consistent with previously adopted U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The two sides were due to discuss four items in the week-long talks including a transitional body, detainees and a constitution.

This "flagrant aggression launched by the global coalition exposes the falsity of its allegation about fighting terrorism and undoubtedly demonstrates the reality of the Zionist-American project in the region", the Syrian official said.

The IS-linked Aamaq news agency said the militants captured villages of Aqareb al-Safi and Mabouja.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said IS captured several army positions in the area and killed nine troops.

The villages are located near the town of Salamiyeh and the highway that links the capital, Damascus, to the northern city of Aleppo, but state media said traffic was not affected.