GENEVA — As artillery shells and airstrikes shook several Syrian towns and cities, a United Nations mediator said Thursday that although the time was not right for new talks between the warring parties, it was urgent that they resume by early August.
The United Nations’ special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, told reporters in Geneva that the next round of peace talks needed to produce concrete steps toward a political transition to end the war. He said Aug. 1 was the target date for resuming negotiations.
That date represents a step back from a deadline, set in March by the 17-nation International Syria Support group, for achieving agreement on a political transition in Syria by the start of August. But prospects for achieving even the amended goal looked uncertain, with the conflict moving back to all-out war on fronts in the north, east and south of Syria and around Damascus, the capital.