UN alarmed by upsurge in Syria fighting

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The United Nations on Monday expressed alarm over escalating fighting in the Damascus area as the world body prepared to launch a new round of peace talks.

UN officials have received reports of civilian deaths and injuries from shelling in Qabun, Barzeh, Tishreen and western Harasta districts of the city, said UN spokesman Farhan Haq.

“The UN is alarmed by the intensification of fighting in the Damascus area in recent days,” said Haq.

Over 100,000 civilians in need live in those neighborhoods which have seen an upsurge in fighting since Saturday, he added.

UN envoy Staffan de Mistura was in Geneva awaiting the arrival of delegations to peace talks set to begin on Thursday.

The UN spokesman indicated that there were still questions concerning the delegations.

“We do expect clarifications on who precisely will be coming over,” he said.

The talks in Switzerland will be the fourth round of UN-hosted peace negotiations and follows meetings between Russia, Iran and Turkey aimed at shoring up a ceasefire.

The nearly six-year war in Syria has killed more than 310,000 people and displaced millions.

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