New round of Syria talks begins in Astana


A new round of Syria peace talks brokered by Iran, Russia, and Turkey has begun in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana. It is the seventh round of talks in what is referred to as the Astana peace process for Syria.
Delegations from the Syrian government and armed opposition groups as well as the three guarantor states are present at the talks. So are representatives from the United Nations, Jordan, and the United States, according to reports.
The Iranian delegation, headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari, arrived in the Kazakh capital on Sunday.
Expert-level talks began that same day, and the high-level talks will continue until Tuesday.
Syria has been beset by conflict since March 2011. Another peace process for Syria has been ongoing under the auspices of the UN. Known as the Geneva peace process, it has achieved little in comparison with the Astana process, which began just this year and has already cultivated in the establishment of four deescalation zones which are expected to ease the conflict now in its seventh year.
Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed reports of plans to enforce no-fly zones over these areas.
Iran and Russia are the Syrian government’s allies, while Turkey is a supporter of anti-Damascus groups.
Jaberi Ansari, the Iranian chief negotiator, told IRIB before the start of the talks that the first item on the agenda of the negotiations was reviewing the activities of the three guarantor states within the framework of the deescalation zones, particularly in Idlib, in northern Syria. He said the latest developments and any potential breaches of the deescalation agreement would be discussed.—Agencies

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