Opposition says Syrian peace talks unlikely to begin Friday

GENEVA (AP) — A Syrian opposition figure says indirect peace talks between the government and opposition are unlikely to begin on Friday for "technical reasons."

Haitham Manna, co-president of the Arab and Kurdish group known as the Syrian Democratic Council, tells The Associated Press Thursday that U.N. Special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura is trying to remove obstacles ahead of the talks.

Manna said that his group and their allies have named their own list of opposition participants, separate from the list named in Saudi Arabia, a move that is likely to anger the Saudi-backed opposition.

The Saudi-backed opposition bloc known as the Higher Negotiating Committee says that before it participates in the Geneva talks, the government should stop bombardments and allow humanitarian access to besieged rebel-held areas.