Talks between opposition and Assad regime kick off in Astana

Orient Net 2017-01-23 08:41:00

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Talks between Syrian opposition factions and the Assad regime began Monday in Kazakhstan. The Syrian opposition delegation to peace talks said it would only discuss ways to salvage a fragile Turkish- Russian ceasefire which was violated by Assad terrorists and Iranian-backed militias in Syria.

Opposition refused to negotiate directly with the regime in the first session of peace talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana, Orient News correspondent Ammar Ezz, who is covering the talks form Astana, said. The delegation of the Syrian opposition refused also listing Iran as a guarantor country to the ceasefire in the talks’ final communique, Ammar, added.

"The first negotiation session will not be face-to-face because the ‘government’ hasn’t committed until now to what it signed in the December 30 agreement," opposition delegation’s spokesman Yahya al-Aridi told AFP.

The meeting on Monday will be the first between Assad regime and Syrian opposition in a year. It is expected to focus on consolidating a fragile cease-fire that has been declared since December 29.

The talks are sponsored by Russia and Turkey whose representatives in the Kazakh capital, Astana, have held meetings with delegates from both sides late into the evening Sunday and early on Monday.

Opposition delegation, which arrived in Astana Sunday, is made up of about a dozen opposition figures led by Muhammad Alloush, a senior figure in Jaysh al-Islam opposition group.

The Assad regime has sent its UN ambassador, Bashar Jaafari, in addition to military delegates.