Syria conflict: Astana peace talks seek to reinforce truce

Turkey, Russia and Iran have reached agreement on forming a three-party mechanism to monitor ceasefire violations in Syria, the states said on Tuesday as talks came to a close in Astana, Kazakhstan.

The communique used the name “al-Nusra Front” to refer to the group now known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, which changed its name past year after allegedly breaking ties with al-Qaeda.

Mr Aridi added that it was hoped the meeting would “contribute” to the UN-brokered negotiations on a political settlement that are due to resume in Geneva next month.

Turkey and Russian Federation have backed opposing sides in Syria’s war since it began in 2011, but in recent weeks the two nations have worked closely together to arrange the Astana talks and cajole the respective sides to take part.

Two days of talks over the Syrian civil war concluded on Tuesday with an agreement by Iran, Russia, and Turkey to enforce a fragile partial cease-fire.

This was the first time that the Syrian opposition was represented at a peace conference by armed rebel groups.

As the talks progressed, government loyalists continued to bombard the Wadi Barada area west of Damascus, Syria’s capital, drawing calls from the rebels for Russian Federation to demonstrate its commitment to the cease-fire by pressuring the government to desist.

Turkey and Russian Federation may also be at odds with Iran, whose militias are core to Assad’s military strength and who rebels blame for rights violations. It is an agreement between Russia, Iran and Turkey – they can sign any agreements they want to.

Analysts in Damascus hailed the results of the Astana talks, but said it all relies on the credibility of Turkey and the rebels it has vouched for.

Syrian state media said the regime had met the Iranian delegation as well as UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura before Monday’s talks, to discuss their positions.

The rebels, angered by ongoing government offensives near Damascus, said they only meant to discuss how to make sure the ceasefire was respected and would not talk about political issues.

It does not include terrorist groups such as Fatah al-Sham or IS, which is engaged in a massive offensive against government forces in the Deir Ezzor province.

“The truce should show that it really works before we move on to other issues”, he said, Tass reports.

Beirut, Astana – Threats and revelations triumphed Monday at the opening session of the Syrian talks held in Astana’s Kazakhstan, while sources from inside the International Meeting uncovered the presence of disputes concerning which factions would be listed as terrorists and which groups would be tasked to fight them.

“If the ceasefire becomes a reality on the ground, this will be a great achievement because the Syrian people are suffering, dead, or running out of the country, away from Assad’s crimes”, Al Rayyes said.

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