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UN’s Syria envoy aims for next peace talks before end of August

The discussion with US and Russian officials centered on initiatives about the “urgent need” for progress on issues like a widely-violated ceasefire

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The UN’s special envoy to Syria said Tuesday he aims to start the next round of intra-Syrian talks before the end of August, after a closed-door meeting with senior US and Russian officials.

Staffan de Mistura added that the trilateral meeting was fruitful, but more preparations are needed in order to start the next round.

“We reached some progress today, frankly, but we need some more details in order to work it out. In particular, from the American and Russian sides,” de Mistura told reporters in Geneva.

He said the discussion centered on initiatives about the “urgent need” for progress on issues like a widely-violated ceasefire, humanitarian access, counter-terrorism and political transition in Syria.

He added: “Today obviously we were unable to very much talk about both Aleppo and Damascus. The rockets have been motor-shelling in the center of Damascus, and horrible events have taken place in hospitals in Aleppo.”

“What everyone feels is the sense of urgency.”

Syrian government forces and their allies have been on the offensive around Aleppo - Syria’s largest city - for weeks.

The army on Tuesday said it will keep providing Aleppo residents with basic necessities, but called all those living in rebel-held parts of the city to kick out “mercenaries and foreign fighters.”

(With the Associated Press)