Syria Talks in Final Day as Tensions Boil over US Strike

News ID: 1413057 Service: World
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TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Syria's warring sides entered a final day of UN-backed talks on Friday with little sign of progress towards ending the conflict and with negotiations overshadowed by swelling tensions on the ground.

The sixth round of talks in Geneva was the latest effort to bring a political solution to the war.

But the sluggish negotiations have been eclipsed by the bombing of a pro-government convoy by US-led coalition warplanes, AFP reported. 

The international alliance -- which usually strikes civilians—hit Syrian forces as they headed toward a remote coalition garrison near the southern border with Jordan.

The strike was sharply condemned by Syria's government.

Speaking to journalists after his final meeting with UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura in Geneva, government-delegation chief Bashar al-Jaafari slammed the "massacre caused by the American aggression on our country yesterday."

The opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) spokesman Yehya al-Aridi meanwhile welcomed the strike.

Syrian state media gave no precise toll in the attack, but the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, reported eight killed.

The current round of talks, which opened Tuesday, were expected to cover four separate topics: the constitution, governance, elections, and combating terrorism, but Jaafari said none of the subjects had been discussed.

Instead, the sole tangible product has been an agreement to set up technical committees to discuss constitutional issues with the United Nations.

"This is the only result from this round," Jaafari said.

Over the past six years, Syria has been fighting foreign-sponsored militancy. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimated in August that more than 400,000 people had been killed in the Syrian crisis until then. The UN has stopped its official casualty count in Syria, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources.

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