Syrian peace talks begin with tense exchanges

World Today

Syria peace talk

A shaky start to Syrian peace talks in Kazakhstan – representatives from Russia, Iran, Turkey, the Syrian government and opposition forces met in the capital Astana.

The tone though has been rather combative.

CGTN’s Natalie Carney reports. Follow Natalie Carney on Twitter @NatalieCarney77

Syrian peace talks begin with tense exchanges

Syrian peace talks begin with tense exchanges

A shaky start to Syrian peace talks in Kazakhstan – representatives from Russia, Iran, Turkey, the Syrian government and opposition forces met in the capital Astana. The tone though has been rather combative. CGTN’s Natalie Carney reports.

“Terrorist groups” – sharp words used by Syria’s ambassador to the U.N. in the first moments of peace talks in Astana.

Following opening speeches, rebel groups refused to sit face to face with government representatives, citing Syria’s continued bombardment near Damascus.

Instead, both sides spoke through intermediaries.

A three-week long fragile ceasefire across Syria, brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran has paved the way for these talks.

The opposition is demanding the release of detainees from government prisons.

These talks come a month after Syrian forces retook control of Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city, which had long been a leveraging chip for the rebels.

Meanwhile, there is some optimism among the opposition that Russia could be ready to flex its influence on the government to cement a comprehensive ceasefire. There is little expectation of a breakthrough heading into day two, yet these negotiations could set the tone for another round of U.N. mediated talks in Geneva, Switzerland at the beginning of February.

Day one ended as it began, with disagreement and tense words. And while both parties said, “Everything was on the table” in an effort to end the war, exceptions persist, putting in doubt any potential consolidation of the ceasefire across Syria.


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