UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura (R) gestures next to Special adviser to the UN Syria envoy Jan Egeland during a press conference on UN taskforces monitoring the fragile truce in Syria, on March 9, 2016 in Geneva. / AFP / FABRICE COFFRINI
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The U.N. envoy for Syria called Friday for elections in the war-ravaged country in 18 months, as the opposition announced it will attend fresh peace talks next week.But in a worrying development ahead of the negotiations, government raids were reported to have killed five civilians in Syria's second city, Aleppo, despite a ceasefire. A plan agreed by world powers last year called for six months of negotiations followed by a transitional government, a new constitution and elections within 18 months.U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura has said "substantive" talks will begin Monday in Geneva and last no longer than 10 days.The first day of negotiations would start the countdown to both presidential and parliamentary elections in Syria under U.N. observation, he said. A source close to Syria's government told AFP earlier this week that its delegation would be attending the talks beginning on Monday.
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