UN expects substantive Syria talks to start by March 14

World Tuesday 08/March/2016 22:58 PM
By: Times News Service
UN expects substantive Syria talks to start by March 14

Geneva/Diyarbakir (Turkey): The UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura plans to start substantive peace talks by March 14, his spokeswoman said on Tuesday, five days later than his planned start on March 9.
Although the talks will officially resume on March 9, some participants in the talks will only arrive in Geneva on March 12, March 13 and March 14, De Mistura's spokeswoman Jessy Chahine told a regular UN briefing.
She said the same participants had been invited as in the first round.
In Moscow, the Russia's Defence Ministry said it had registered seven ceasefire violations in Syria over the past 24 hours, RIA news agency reported.
The ministry said four violations had been registered in the province of Aleppo, two in Idlib and one in Latakia.
Meanwhile, two people, including a young child, were killed and another two people were wounded when the southern Turkish town of Kilis came under repeated rocket fire from across the Syrian border on Tuesday, the local mayor and security sources said.
Kilis, which is near the border, was hit by eight rockets in what was believed to be a deliberate attack from an area of Syria controlled by IS militants, Mayor Hasan Kara told Reuters.
"The first rocket landed in an empty field. Then, when people started gathering, they started firing around those areas," he said.
"They are being fired intentionally. We are guessing that the rockets came from an area under Daesh (IS) control."
One rocket landed in an area near a hospital, Kara said, adding that one of those killed was a child born in 2011.
A residential area near a high school was also hit and the Turkish military returned fire into Syria, Turkish security sources said.
A large explosion was heard, followed by a plume of black smoke rising up from nearby buildings, live footage from state-run broadcaster TRT World showed.
Kilis schools have been closed but the town is calm, Kara said.
Furthermore, a top US general on Tuesday said he is asking for permission to resurrect a US effort to train Syrian opposition fighters to battle IS, but on a smaller scale than the previous, failed program that was scrapped last year.
"I've asked for permission to restart the effort using a different approach," General Lloyd Austin, the head of Central Command which oversees US
forces in the Middle East, told a Senate hearing.
Austin said unlike the previous effort, which sought to recruit and train entire units of fighters to redeploy into Syria, the new push would focus on shorter-term training of smaller groups.