Syria opposition: UN envoy cannot form delegation for peace talks

U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, left, speaks to head of Syrian opposition delegation Mohammed Alloush, right, prior to talks on Syrian peace at a hotel hall in Astana, Kazakhstan, in this Jan. 23, 2017 photo. (AP)
Updated 02 February 2017
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Syria opposition: UN envoy cannot form delegation for peace talks

BEIRUT: Syria opposition officials Wednesday criticized UN envoy Staffan de Mistura after he said he could pick the opposition delegation representatives to UN-led talks in Geneva if they failed to do so.
De Mistura on Tuesday said the talks previously scheduled for Feb. 8 had been postponed to Feb. 20 in part to give the opposition more time to present a united delegation.
And he warned that if they had not done so by Feb. 8, he would “select the delegation in order to make sure that it can be as inclusive as possible.”
The opposition rejected the comments as “unacceptable.”
“Selecting the Syrian opposition delegation is not the business... of de Mistura,” wrote Riad Hijab, head of the opposition High Negotiations Committee, on his Twitter account.
Salem Muslet, a spokesman for the opposition umbrella group, said de Mistura’s comments were “unacceptable” and showed a “disregard for the ability of the representatives of the Syrian people.”
Muslet also asked whether de Mistura would “intervene in the formation of (President Bashar)Assad’s delegation.”


US-backed SDF denies report of final Daesh defeat

Updated 9 min 28 sec ago
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US-backed SDF denies report of final Daesh defeat

  • The SDF has denied the claims made by Syrian Kurdish news outlet Hawar

QAMISHLI, Syria: The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces denied a report on Thursday that all of Daesh’s final enclave has been captured and said combing operations were still underway, an SDF media official said.
Earlier the Syrian Kurdish news outlet Hawar reported that the SDF had seized all of the Baghouz enclave, where the SDF has been battling for weeks to wipe out the last vestige of Daesh’s territorial rule.
Citing its correspondents, Hawar said the SDF had “liberated all of Baghouz from the Daesh mercenaries” and with that the campaign had “ended with the defeat of Daesh and the victory of the SDF.”