The Latest: UN Syria envoy meets with opposition reps – McClatchy Washington Bureau

The Latest on developments in Syria and at the Geneva talks (all times local):

7 p.m.

The United Nations envoy for Syria is meeting with Syrian opposition representatives separately in Geneva reflecting the struggle of opposition groups to form a united front in peace talks with the Damascus government.

Staffan de Mistura on Sunday first met with representatives of the opposition delegation dubbed the Cairo platform.

After the meeting, Jihad Makdissi, a former spokesman for the Damascus government who left Syria in 2012 said the envoy gave them papers on “how to facilitate talks” between the various opposition groups and the government.

Makdissi, at the helm of the Cairo delegation, sought to downplay differences in the opposition saying they were “diverse” rather than “fragmented,” and could agree on technical rather than political points.

“We want to be one delegation, not a unified delegation,” he told reporters.

On Saturday, the Damascus envoy to the U.N.-mediated talks, Bashar al-Ja’afari, said face-to-face talks would only be possible if there is a “unified, patriotic opposition.”


2:50 p.m.

Syrian opposition activists say government warplanes are pounding a rebel-held neighborhood in the central city of Homs, killing at least three and wounding dozens.

Sunday’s airstrikes came a day after the al-Waer neighborhood was subjected to more than 40 air raids that killed and wounded dozens.

The airstrikes appear to be in retaliation for militant attacks in the city on Saturday that killed a senior security officer and at least 31 others.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the al-Waer-based activist Bebars al-Talawy said the airstrikes killed three people.

The Observatory said that in addition to the airstrikes, al-Waer is being subjected to shelling.

The swift, high-profile attacks against the Military Intelligence and State Security offices were claimed by an al-Qaida-linked insurgent coalition known as the Levant Liberation Committee.


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