New Round of Syria Peace Talks to Begin in Astana

In the Kazakh capital, Astana, a seventh round of talks on settling Syrian war brokered by Turkey, Russia and Iran will address strengthening ceasefire, release of captives and hostages, TRT World reports.
A seventh round of talks on bringing peace to Syria begin on Monday in the Kazakh capital, Astana.

The two-day meeting will be the first talks since an agreement was reached on how to set up four de-escalation zones in Syria.

The talks, brokered by Turkey, Iran and Russia, will focus on strengthening the ceasefire that came into effect on December 30.

It would also address the release of captives and hostages, and humanitarian action on mines, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov said on October 6.

The Turkish delegation will be chaired by Deputy Undersecretary of the Turkish Foreign Ministry Sedat Onal, while Special Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev will lead Russian team and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari will head his country's delegation, Abdrakhmanov said on Friday.

Representatives of the Syrian regime, armed opposition groups, as well as delegations from the UN, Jordan and the US will attend the talks, he confirmed.

Northern Syria is expected to be discussed as an issue in the meeting as large parts of it are controlled by the YPG - a group regarded in Ankara as the Syrian branch of the PKK terrorist organisation.

More than 330,000 people have died and millions have been driven from their homes in the conflict in Syria.

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