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Tags: ML | Syria | The Latest

The Latest: Envoy Says Islamic State Group May Feel Cornered

Monday, 22 February 2016 09:19 AM

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the civil war in Syria (all times local):

4:05 p.m.

The U.N. special envoy for Syria says deadly weekend bombings in Homs and a Damascus suburb claimed by the Islamic State group suggest it is feeling "cornered" amid an intensified diplomatic push to end the country's five-year war.

Staffan de Mistura told The Associated Press on Monday that this week is shaping up as crucial in the diplomatic efforts to help end the war, though he declined to provide details of the negotiations.

The U.N. said earlier that de Mistura "strongly condemns" Sunday's explosions in Homs and the Sayyida Zeinab suburb that killed nearly 130 people.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said a "provisional agreement" has been reached on a cessation of hostilities that could begin in coming days. Diplomats say some details remain to be worked out.

3:05 p.m.

The Turkish foreign minister says a land operation by Saudi Arabia and Turkey in Syria has never been on the agenda.

Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday dismissed speculation about such an operation as "disinformation and manipulation."

The minister said: "A land operation of Saudi Arabia and Turkey in Syria has never been on the agenda, and it is not on the agenda."

However, Turkey views ground operations as necessary and would be a willing partner if the notion got approval from a broader coalition, an official said last week. The country raised the issue in recent talks with the U.S. and other Western nations, said the Turkish official, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity.

The U.S., Russia and other world powers agreed Feb. 12 in Munich to bring about a pause in hostilities that would allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid and the revival of peace talks.

—By Dominique Soguel

12:41 p.m.

A Syrian opposition activist group says heavy fighting has cut off the government's only supply route to the northeastern city of Aleppo.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says clashes were underway Monday along the southeastern approaches to the city, which is bitterly divided between the government and the rebels, and also around the town of Khanaser.

The Observatory tracks Syria's civil war. A news agency close to the Islamic State group said the extremist group's fighters had cut the road.

Aleppo, Syria's largest city and one-time commercial center, is divided between the government and its opponents, while IS holds a wide front to the east of the city.

Fighting has been fierce in Aleppo province in recent weeks amid a government offensive to cut off the rebel stronghold.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


MiddleEast
The Latest on the civil war in Syria (all times local):4:05 p.m.The U.N. special envoy for Syria says deadly weekend bombings in Homs and a Damascus suburb claimed by the Islamic State group suggest it is feeling "cornered" amid an intensified diplomatic push to end the...
ML,Syria,The Latest
430
2016-19-22
Monday, 22 February 2016 09:19 AM
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