U.N. Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura meets Syrian President Bashar al Assad in Damascus, a day after at least 34 people die in Aleppo mosque bombing. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: U.N. Special Envoy to Syria Staffan De Mistura met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Tuesday (June 16). De Mistura arrived on Monday (June 15) for a two-day visit as he continues his efforts to find common ground among all interested parties to end Syria's civil war. The same day more than 30 people were killed in the most lethal rebel bombardment of the city of Aleppo since Syria's conflict started more than four years ago, a group monitoring the war said on Tuesday. De Mistura called the shelling an indiscriminate attack on civilians. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told De Mistura the world needed to recognize the threat of terrorism and prevent foreign states from arming insurgents, state media reported following their meeting on Tuesday. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 34 people were killed, including 12 children, and about 190 were wounded in the bombardment by rebels who are seeking control of the city. The attack targeted a mosque where children were taking religious lessons as well as other neighborhoods, it said. In a statement published on Sunday (June 14), de Mistura's spokesperson said the envoy had decided to respond to a invitation by Syrian government to visit the country. He is expected to raise with the Syrian government the issue of protecting civilians in all circumstances. De Mistura began the talks last month, saying he expected to meet 40 or more delegations for one-on-one discussions in Geneva, including Syrian officials, opposition and civil society representatives and representatives of governments in the region and with influence in the conflict. Diplomats said that by summoning people to Geneva, de Mistura would be in control of the process and the talks would be on neutral ground. However, the main Syrian political opposition group refused to come to meet him, inviting him instead to meet them in Istanbul.