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The Latest: Syria opposition says government won't negotiate

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BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):

6:20 p.m.

The head of the Syrian opposition delegation at peace talks underway in Geneva is accusing President Bashar Assad's government of refusing to engage in political discussions.

Nasr al-Hariri of the High Negotiations Committee also challenged the U.N. Security Council to "uphold its responsibilities" and maintain pressure on Assad to honor resolutions that the council has passed.

He spoke to reporters on Wednesday after emerging from talks with the U.N. envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, in the latest round of indirect peace talks aimed to help end Syria's civil war, now in its seventh year.

Al-Hariri cited the "continuous refusing" of Assad's government to participate in political negotiations.

Security Council resolution 2254 from December 2015 called on top U.N. officials to convene the two sides "to engage in formal negotiations on a political transition process."


3:15 p.m.

The U.N. says it is using newly opened land routes to expand food deliveries to areas around the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, where U.S.-backed Syrian forces are battling Islamic State militants in their self-declared capital.

The new access has allowed the World Food Programme to deliver food to rural areas north of the city for the first time in three years.

The U.N. agency says it is now delivering food every month to nearly 200,000 people in eight hard-to-reach locations inside Raqqa province as well as other areas in a neighboring province.


1:05 p.m.

A human rights group says Syrian-Russian airstrikes and artillery attacks on a town in southern Syria last month killed 10 civilians in and near a school.

Human Rights Watch says one of the airstrikes hit the courtyard of a middle school in the town of Tafas in the southern province of Daraa, killing eight people, including a child. It says most of those killed were members of a family who had been displaced from another town.

It says two other civilians, including a child, were killed an hour earlier by artillery attacks near the school.

Bill Van Esveld, senior children's rights researcher at the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, said Wednesday that "as long as no one is held responsible for such repeated unlawful attacks, it's likely they will continue."

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