The Latest: UN envoy hopes to start peace talks Friday

The latest on the Syria peace talks planned to start in Geneva this week. All times local:

3:30 p.m.

The U.N. special envoy on Syria says he hopes to start peace talks between the government and opposition groups on Friday.

Staffan de Mistura told reporters in Geneva he would be sending out invitations on Tuesday. The sides will not talk directly to each other to begin with, but negotiators will move between them.

De Mistura said the priorities would be creating a broad cease-fire, stopping the threat from the Islamic State group, and clearing the way for humanitarian aid.

He spoke in Geneva on Monday, the day the talks were originally scheduled to start. He said: "We want to make sure that when and if we start, to start at least on the right foot. It will be uphill anyway."


1:50 p.m.

Turkey's foreign minister says any participation of Kurdish forces in planned Syria peace talks would be dangerous and spell the end of the U.N.-led initiative.

Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke Monday in Ankara just hours before the U.N. special envoy for Syria was to speak to media in Geneva about plans for long-awaited talks between Syrian government and opposition representatives this week.

The initiative by U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura aims to help end a nearly 5-year war that has cost more than 250,000 lives, but has it run into delays and disputes notably over the invitation list.

Cavusoglu told reporters that Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish forces "terrorists." But the U.S. and others have supported them in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria. Russia favors the Kurds' inclusion.