Syria peace talks set to begin in Astana

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Syria peace talks set to begin in Astana

Syria peace talks set to begin in Astana

A new round of Syrian peace talks will start on Monday in the capital of the central Asian country of Kazakhstan. It will be the first meeting in which a delegation composed exclusively of rebel groups will negotiate with the Syrian government. The talks are sponsored by Russia and Turkey.
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A new round of Syrian peace talks will start on Monday in the capital of the central Asian country of Kazakhstan. It will be the first meeting in which a delegation composed exclusively of rebel groups will negotiate with the Syrian government. The talks are sponsored by Russia and Turkey.
CGTN’s Natalie Carney is in the Kazak capital Astana.
Follow Natalie Carney on Twitter @NatalieCarney77

Syrian rebel delegates are meeting in Kazakhstan ahead of talks with government representatives that are scheduled to begin Monday.

The talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana, are sponsored by Russia, Iran and Turkey, and represent the first such negotiations between the two sides in a year.

The opposition delegation, which arrived in Astana on Sunday, is made up of about a dozen rebel figures led by Mohammad Alloush, of the Army of Islam faction. The Syrian government is sending its U.N. ambassador, Bashar Ja’afari, and military delegates.

At the top of the agenda is an effort to consolidate a ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey last month, the opposition said.

“If this can be achieved, this can help the political process,” said Yahya al-Aridi, a spokesman for the opposition delegation and a member of the High Negotiations Committee.

The scope of the aims reflects the constrained position of the opposition, which was last year pushing for a roadmap for a political transition in Syria.

Al-Aridi said there was no plan to discuss President Bashar Assad’s position before addressing what he said were ongoing government violations of the December 30 ceasefire.

The talks, which will also be attended by UN officials, will discuss reinforcing the ceasefire and ensuring humanitarian access into besieged areas.

Story from the Associated Press.