Russia has invited the incoming administration of Donald Trump to attend upcoming Syrian peace talks in Kazakhstan, bypassing the Obama administration, which has been notably absent from the process, The Washington Post reported
Turkey, which would be co-hosting the talks with Russia, had said Washington would be asked to join the talks likely to be held in the Kazakh capital Astana on 23 January.
However, there had been no confirmation from Moscow, and the current US administration said yesterday that it had not been asked to take part.
"We have not received any kind of formal invitation to the meeting," said state department spokesman Mark Toner. "But if we do receive an invitation, we will certainly make a recommendation" to Trump's incoming administration to honour it, he said, AFP reported.
The timetable would put the meeting just three days after the Republican president-elect assumed office on 20 January, succeeding Democrat Barack Obama. Invitations to the talks had to be yet sent out, and the format of the discussions remained unclear.
However, according to The Washington Post, the Russian ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak, extended an invitation to attend the upcoming talks in a 28 Dec telephone conversation with Trump's incoming national security advisor Michael Flynn.
Meanwhile, the Syrian regime said yesterday that Israeli missile strikes had caused a series of explosions at an air base outside Damascus before dawn.
''In a desperate attempt to support terrorist organizations, Israeli enemy aircraft launched missiles from the north of Lake Tiberias (the Sea of Galilee) at 00:25 am (2225 GMT Thursday),'' a military source told the state SANA news agency, www.arabnews.com said in a report credited to AFP, Reuters. ''The Syrian armed forces warns the Israeli enemy of the repercussions of this blatant aggression, and insists on continuing the war on terrorism to eliminate it,'' the source added.