Skip to main content

Syrian official: Talks in Geneva by year's end

By CNN Staff
October 18, 2013 -- Updated 1312 GMT (2112 HKT)
  • NEW: General slain in fighting
  • Jamea Jamea was sanctioned by Council of European Union for repression, violence against civilians
  • "If not even November, then the month after that," says Syria's deputy prime minister
  • Kidnapped eight months ago, a U.N. worker is released

Moscow (CNN) -- A long-delayed conference between Syrian government officials and opposition leaders intended to broker an end to the country's civil war will be held by the end of the year, Syria's deputy prime minister told reporters here Thursday.

Qadri Jamil said the precise date is not clear. The United Nations "defined the dates as the second half to the end of November," he said. "If not even November, then the month after that."

Syria's war: CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reflects on front line reports

But he said there is no doubt that the conference, dubbed Geneva 2, will be held. "The Geneva conference is fate for all of us, it's fate to take part in the Geneva conference. Why? Because everything is at a dead end."

Asked whether the conference will be held on Nov. 23 and 24, he said, "Yes, almost that date."

Syria's 'lost generation' in peril
Millions of Syrians, no homes
Becoming a chemical weapons inspector
Syrians struggle to celebrate Eid

Jamil, who is also head of the Popular Front for Change and Liberation of Syria, said the "presumed dates" had been agreed to during a conference in the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Syrian war's brutality isn't going away

Jamil said the conference will prove key. "Regardless of whether this conference will be held in the expected time frame, the Geneva 2 is a platform for dialogue, for mutual understanding," he said, according to Russia's official Itar-Tass news agency.

"The scope of government's authority, the amount of president's powers is to be determined in Geneva," he said in response to a question.

Thursday's announcement comes more than five months after the United States and Russia announced on May 7 that they would try to bring the warring parties to a second conference in Geneva to implement the peace plan they endorsed in 2012 -- at what has come to be called Geneva 1 -- that left open the question of whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must leave power.

"The implementation of Geneva-1 is the goal of Geneva-2, and that is a transition government with full executive authority, which gives the Syrian people as a whole, everybody in Syria, the chance to have a new beginning where they choose their future leadership," Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN in June.

Fire fell 'like rain' in Syria

Progress was made Thursday inside Syria, too. A Canadian U.N. worker who was kidnapped in Syria eight months ago has been released, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported Thursday.

Carl Campeau, part of the United Nations' mission in the Golan Heights, was abducted in February by what the Syrian government calls "terrorists" in the Damascus-area countryside, according to SANA.

After his release, the Syrian Foreign Ministry transferred Campeau to the U.N. representative in Damascus, according to SANA.

Despite the progress, violence continued in Syria. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Syrian state media reported Friday that Maj. Gen. Jamea Jamea, head of the government's intelligence forces in Deir Ezzor, died Thursday during fighting there.

Jamea was branch chief for Syrian military intelligence in Deir Ezzor and was directly involved in repression and violence against the civilian population there and in and Alboukamal, according to the Council of the European Union, which imposed sanctions on him in December 2011.

According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict, which began in March 2011 when government forces cracked down on peaceful protesters, and then morphed into a civil war.

Part of complete coverage on
Syrian crisis
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Jihadists have kidnapped over 140 Kurdish boys to "brainwash" them. But a few boys made a daring escape.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
Reports that Syrian warplanes carried out a cross-border attack on Iraqi towns is further evidence of the blurring of the two countries' borders.
June 24, 2014 -- Updated 2133 GMT (0533 HKT)
CNN's Atika Shubert speaks to a father whose teenage son joined the Jihad movement in Syria.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1141 GMT (1941 HKT)
At the start of Syria's civil unrest, Omar would rally against the government alongside his schoolmates, later taking to the streets in his hometown of Salqin.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 2117 GMT (0517 HKT)
Atika Shubert looks at the rise of European jihadists traveling to Syria and whether they soon could join ISIS in Iraq.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
The final stockpile of Syria's chemical weapons has been shipped out of the country, according to the OPCW, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 2025 GMT (0425 HKT)
The US isn't doing airstrikes in Iraq. Is there a vacuum for Syria and Iran to step in? CNN's Fareed Zakaria weighs in.
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on Syrian rebels using underground explosions against the better-equipped regime.
June 9, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh returns to the besieged rebel areas of Aleppo, a pale skeleton of a city that has had the life bombed out of it.
June 2, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Syria may be embroiled in a brutal three-year civil war, but that's not stopping the government from holding presidential elections.
June 3, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh meets an ISIS defector in hiding and gets a rare look into the group's recruitment process.
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 1610 GMT (0010 HKT)
Over a thousand Syrian refugees have turned an abandoned shopping mall in Lebanon into makeshift living quarters.
May 28, 2014 -- Updated 2119 GMT (0519 HKT)
What caught our experts' ears was as much about what he didn't address as much as what he did.
May 20, 2014 -- Updated 1019 GMT (1819 HKT)
The three-year war in Syria has claimed 162,402 lives, an opposition group said Monday, as the raging conflict shows no signs of abating.
May 31, 2014 -- Updated 0141 GMT (0941 HKT)
Official: The U.S. believes a jihadi featured in a suicide bombing video in Syria is Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha who grew up in Florida.
May 20, 2014 -- Updated 1437 GMT (2237 HKT)
For the first time, Britain has convicted someone of a terrorism offense related to the Syrian civil war.