De Mistura withdraws his proposal on Syria constitution

UN Deputy Special Envoy for Syria Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy left and UN Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Syria Staffan de Mistura right attend a round of negotiation with Syria's main opposition High Negotiations Committee leader Nasr

The US has not spoken about any strikes carried out by the coalition on 17 May.

This "flagrant aggression launched by the global coalition exposes the falsity of its allegation about fighting terrorism and undoubtedly demonstrates the reality of the Zionist-American project in the region", the Syrian official said.

Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations envoy for Syria, withdrew the proposal to form a consultative mechanism on the Syrian constitution, which he proposed for Syria talks in Geneva, according to Al Arabiya sources.

Gatilov complained about what he said was a separate strike that had occurred on Wednesday [Thursday NZT].

The fate of President Bashar al-Assad has also remained a major stumbling block, with the HNC insisting on his departure as part of a political transition and the regime brushing off the demand as a non-starter.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Friday that a USA military strike the previous day against militia supported by the Syrian government was an unacceptable violation of Syria's sovereignty, Russian news agencies reported.

Russian Federation called the strike an unacceptable breach of Syrian sovereignty and the Syrian delegation raised the matter with De Mistura in Geneva but he refused to comment at a press conference, saying it would serve no goal in his efforts to keep the peace talks going.

The U.N. talks no longer aim to bring an end to the fighting - that objective has been taken up by parallel talks sponsored by Russia, Turkey and Iran - but they do aim to prepare the way for political reform in Syria, if the six-year-old war ends. He railed against Iran, for its support of the Syrian government.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura is aiming to hold the next round of the Intra-Syrian talks in Geneva in mid-June, head of the delegation of Cairo opposition platform Firas Khalidi told Sputnik.

We have just concluded the last session with the UN Special Envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, within the framework of the current Geneva round, which we agreed to call it the 6th round of Geneva.

"We hope that this step. will help in pushing this round forward, and the Geneva process in general towards the seriousness that is hoped for by everyone", Ja'afari said.

In recent days, near the border with Jordan, another set of U.S-backed rebel fighters have been on a collision course with government troops in the area of Tanf.

The coalition statement late on Thursday says the coalition hit the pro-Syrian government forces after warning shots, a show of force and apparent Russian attempts failed to dissuade those troops from moving into the "de-conflicted area".

The strike on the convoy heading toward a coalition garrison near the Jordanian border was "necessitated by offensive movement with offensive capability of what we believe were Iranian-directed forces", Mattis said, adding he was not sure if there were Iranians on the ground.

The region around Tanf, where the borders of Jordan, Syria and Iraq meet, has been considered a de-conflicted zone, under an agreement between the USA and Russian Federation that went into effect earlier this month.

Asked if the airstrike increases the U.S. role in the Syrian war, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said America will defend its troops in case of "aggressive" steps against them.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said IS captured several army positions in the area and killed nine troops.

As talks ended, Syria's opposition delegation leader Nasr al-Hariri said that little progress had been achieved, though he highlighted the importance of keeping the UN-mediated process alive. It added that "the Americans have no right to specify in which direction the Syrian army moves since it owns the land and has the right to spread the country's sovereignty on all the land".

But the talks have been increasingly marginalised over the past year as Assad's forces, backed by Russian Federation and Iran, have won back territory from the rebels, while the United States has largely stepped back from a leading role in Syrian diplomacy.

Our ambition is supreme because we want to constantly focus on the fight against terrorism, "he said". The officials say the strike was a defensive move to protect the US allies.



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