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UN Envoy Says 'Common Ground' Emerging In Syria Constitution Talks

UN special envoy of the secretary-general for Syria Staffan de Mistura

The United Nations' special envoy for Syria says there is "some common ground" among Russia, Iran, and Turkey about how to move forward on writing a new constitution for war-torn Syria.

Staffan de Mistura made the statement on June 19 after representatives from the three countries and other parties held what he called substantive talks on setting up a constitutional commission.

More talks are scheduled in coming weeks, he said.

"During the meeting, constructive exchanges and substantive discussions took place on issues relevant to the establishment and functioning of a constitutional committee, and some common ground is beginning to emerge," de Mistura said following the talks in Geneva.

The parties are trying to find a way to bring an end to the seven-year conflict, which has killed hundreds of thousands and nearly torn the country apart.

Meanwhile, Syria's Foreign Ministry condemned Turkish military forces, who started patrols around the northern Syrian city of Manbij a day earlier.

Manbij is held by a U.S.-backed alliance dominated by a Kurdish militia considered by Ankara to be "terrorists." Turkey has threatened to attack the city outright.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP