Accessibility links

Breaking News

UN Envoy Attempts to Jumpstart Syria Peace Talks

FILE - This SANA photo shows Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, speaking with U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura in Damascus, Nov. 10, 2014.

The United Nations envoy on Syria has launched his latest effort to bring the country's political parties together for talks on an agreement to end Syria's bloody civil war.

Staffan de Mistura on Tuesday announced the heads of four "thematic" working groups designed to find a political solution to the conflict that has been raging for more than four years. The plan calls for Syrian parties to participate in discussions within the working groups, which will focus on political and legal issues, and military and counter-terrorism, among other topics.

De Mistura said the hope is to find a solution based on the Geneva Communique.

That document, agreed to in 2012, sets out a roadmap for a democratic transition in Syria and remains the basis for a peaceful settlement.

In other news, Syrian warplanes carried out a round of airstrikes on areas in central Syria held by the Islamic State group, killing at least 38 IS fighters, according to activists.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes targeted three towns in Homs province.

The Syrian air force has increased its airstrikes against IS in recent days, at the same time as Russia has been carrying out a military buildup in the country.