The Latest: UN envoy hails 1st round of Syria charter talks
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the war in Syria (all times local):
The U.N. envoy for Syria says first talks on the country’s constitution involving Syrian opposition, government and civil society representatives have “gone much better” than many would have expected.
Geir Pedersen says the two co-chairs of the constitutional committee from President Bashar Assad’s government and the leading opposition have agreed to meet again on Nov. 25, and that delegations would in coming weeks “hopefully come up with a work plan.”
Pedersen wrapped up a week of talks with a 45-person drafting committee on Friday hailing a “very good beginning,” though he emphasized that the committee “in itself is not a solution to the conflict.”
He reiterated his hopes that the committee could be a “door-opener the broader political process” in Syria, after eight and a half years of war.
The Russian military says its helicopters are flying patrols over northeast Syria where Russia and Turkey have struck a deal that includes a pullout of Syrian Kurdish fighters from the frontier region.
Maj. Gen. Yuri Borenkov, the chief of the Russian military’s Reconciliation Center in Syria, said in a statement that the first helicopter patrol was conducted on Thursday. The helicopters flew east from the Kuweires air base to Ayn Issa and Raqqa and then back.
Russian state TV carried a report about patrols that featured helicopters flying low to provide air cover for Russian military police patrolling the area. Helicopter pilot Dmitry Ivanov said in televised remarks that patrols were flown by pairs of helicopters in several areas.
Russian and Turkish troops on Friday patrolled a region between Qamishli and Derik, east of the Euphrates River.
Turkey says it will start sending back captured Islamic State group members to their countries of origin next week.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu made the comments on Friday, days after Ankara insisted that suspected members of the extremist group held by Turkey would be returned regardless of home countries revoking their citizenship.
Soylu said the extraditions would start Monday.
The minister had previously said Turkey is “not a hotel” for foreign IS members.
Turkey has accused the Syrian Kurdish forces it is fighting in northeastern Syria of releasing IS families from camps last month.
Soylu has said about 287 IS members, including women and children, were re-captured during Turkey’s offensive.
A Kurdish group and a Syria war monitor say a protester has been killed after he was run over by a Turkish military vehicle.
Mustafa Bali, spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, said the man was killed Friday in northeastern Syria.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the man was run over in the village of Sarmasakh near the border by a Turkish vehicle during a joint patrol with Russia.
The Observatory said the man died in the hospital in the town of Derik from internal bleeding and broken bones.
The man was among residents who pelted with shoes and stones Turkish and Russian troops who were conducting their third joint patrol in northeastern Syria, under a cease-fire deal brokered by Moscow that forced Kurdish fighters to withdraw from areas bordering Turkey.
Turkish and Russian troops are conducting their third joint patrol in northeast Syria, under a deal between the two countries that forced Syrian Kurdish fighters to withdraw from areas bordering Turkey.
Turkey’s Defense Ministry said the troops were patrolling Friday a region between Qamishli and Derik, east of the Euphrates. It said the patrols were being supported by drones, but provided no further details.
Turkey last month invaded northeastern Syria to push out Syrian Kurdish fighters whom it considers a security threat for their links to a Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey.
The deal with Russia — and a separate one with the U.S. — halted the Turkish offensive. The patrols are aimed at allowing Turkey to ensure that Syrian Kurdish fighters have evacuated the border area.