The Latest: Russia to host Syria talks on Nov. 18
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):
Russia says it will host Syrian talks next month aimed at reaching a political settlement.
Alexander Lavrentyev, the head of Russia’s delegation at the talks between the Syrian government and the opposition in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, said the so-called Congress of National Dialogue will be held in Sochi on Nov. 18.
Lavrentyev said Tuesday in remarks carried by Russian news agencies that the gathering should bring together representatives of various opposition factions. He said they could discuss efforts to draft a new constitution and prepare parliamentary and presidential elections under U.N. monitoring.
Lavrentyev urged the armed opposition to attend the forum in Sochi and “take part in searching for ways of political settlement.”
Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Bashar al-Ja’afari said his government is ready to participate.
The Russian military says that one of its submarines has launched cruise missiles at the Islamic State group in eastern Syria.
The Defense Ministry said that the Veliky Novgorod submarine on Tuesday launched three cruise missiles at IS facilities in the province of Deir el-Zour.
It said in a statement the missiles destroyed IS command facilities, fortified positions and an ammunition depot near the town of Abu-Kemal. The ministry said that it was the fourth time in two months that the submarine fired missiles at IS positions in Syria.
The Russian military has backed the Syrian army offensive in eastern Syria with intensive airstrikes and cruise missile launches
Syrian activists say at least four children have been killed when government shelling hit their school in a rebel-held town outside the capital Damascus.
The Ghouta Media Center and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights say a shell landed Tuesday at the gate of a school in Jisreen, a town in the Eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus. The shelling killed five, including four children, and left many injured.
Residents of the Eastern Ghouta suburbs have been living under a suffocating government blockade amid intense bombings. The violence and siege have continued even though the suburbs are part of a de-escalation agreement guaranteed by Syrian government backers Russia and Iran.
On Monday, the United Nations said it reached thousands of the suburbs residents for the first time in over a month.