Astana Syria peace talks open today


Turkey determined to end conflict


The Syria peace talks are set to start in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on Monday. The negotiations are led by Iran, Russia and Turkey. Also present at the talks will be delegates from Syria, Kazakhstan, the UN and Syrian opposition groups. The US has said it will not send a delegation to the talks and will instead be represented by its ambassador to Kazakhstan.
In an interview with media, Mimi al-Laham, a Syrian activist and political commentator, expressed hope that the upcoming talks in Astana would bear fruit and lead to a sustainable peace in Syria, especially considering that this time Turkey seems to be determined to help end the conflict.
“Hopefully, the Iranian-Turkish-Russian alliance can come to a conclusion where Turkey can perhaps stop certain elements of the opposition, in fact perhaps even the entire rebel militants, from getting any more arms, from being capable of continuing the war. If Iran, Turkey and Russia can come to such a conclusion, essentially the war would be over,” the analyst reiterated.
“This is perhaps a long-term objective and it would not really involve the United States at all,” she said, expressing hope that the Astana talks would be a step towards a peace treaty that will end hostilities and stop terrorist groups from crossing into Syria via Turkey.
Asked whether or not she sees any difference between the upcoming negotiations and the previous peace talks between the Syrian government and foreign-backed militants, al-Laham predicted that since the militants are still reluctant to follow any ceasefire deal, they will probably break it once again.
“And, this would demonstrate further that these groups cannot be dealt with in any way other than force,” she noted.
Al-Laham further described Ankara’s active presence in the upcoming Syria peace process as a sign of Turkey’s tendency to re-align itself with Iran and Russia, rather than stick to its partnership with the US.
“Turkey is now dropping its regime change rhetoric. They are no longer saying that Assad must go and this definitely brings more hope towards a resolution coming forward out of at least Turkey and the Turkish northern Syrian front,” she concluded.
Late last year, the coordination among Iran, Russia, and Turkey resulted in an agreement on the evacuation of militants from the northwestern Syrian city of Aleppo – an agreement which is going to be extended to other parts of the country as well.
The Astana talks will be addressing issues such as further stabilization of the all-Syria ceasefire, effective confrontation against terrorism, and an intra-Syrian dialog toward the achievement of a political solution to the crisis.—Agencies

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