UN envoy plans new round of Syria talks in July

  • UN envoy plans new round of Syria talks in July

UN envoy plans new round of Syria talks in July

The Syrian army has suspended combat operations in the southern city of Deraa for 48 hours, as mediators announced two separate attempts to convene new peace talks next month.

In a statement posted online and reported by the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency, the army, under the command of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, stopped combat operations in the area at noon local time Saturday for a period of 48 hours.

Russian Federation has proposed that a two-day round of Syrian peace talks should start on July 4.

Moscow also announced it hopes to organize another round of talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana, on July 4-5.

In an emailed statement, the office of United Nations special mediator for Syria Staffan de Mistura said he wished to convene a seventh round of Geneva talks in July and further rounds in August and September, reported Reuters news agency.

The ceasefire on Saturday marked the beginning of the seventh round of negotiations in Geneva.

The U.S. State Department issued a statement welcoming the development and calling for the opposition to also enforce a cease-fire so that humanitarian aid can reach civilians.

But the government has touted the deals as the best way to end the six-year war, which has killed more than 320,000 people since it began in March 2011.

In the northern city of Raqqa, the self-proclaimed capital of the Islamic State group, a US -backed Syrian force entered new neighbourhoods east and west of the city adding that they were able to free dozens of civilians who were trapped in the fighting.

But recent weeks have seen heavy lashes in Daraa city and the surrounding area.

The cessation of battles went into effect as of 12:00 p.m. (1000 GMT) Saturday, said SANA.

"There are breaches and we are distrustful of the regime's intentions in abiding by the ceasefire", Major Issam al Rayes, spokesman for the Southern Front grouping of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels, told Reuters.