Negotiations on Ceasefire in Syria To Begin in Astana
Negotiations on a ceasefire in Syria are about to begin in the Kazakh capital Astana.
The talks are sponsored by Russia, Iran and Turkey. The government in Damascus and the Syrian opposition will take part. The spokesman for the Syrian opposition Yahya Al Aridi has declared that the opposition will refrain from political discussions and that only the ceasefire, the freeing of war prisoners and humanitarian aid will be discussed.
Before the start of the negotiations, talks were held between the delegations of Russia, Iran and Turkey.
The special representative of Vladimir Putin for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev said after the meeting that Moscow managed to align its position more closely to those of Ankara and Teheran.
The final aim is to reinforce the ceasefire in Syria agreed at the end of December. Islamic State and formations linked to Al Qaeda have been excluded from the ceasefire.
Besides the Syrian government and opposition, Russia, Turkey and Iran, who are guarantors of the ceasefire, the special envoy of the UN Staffan de Mistura and the US Ambassador to Kazakhstan George Krol will also take part in the negotiations.
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