Fresh peace talks aimed at resolving the Syrian conflict will begin today in the Kazakhstan capital, Astana. The agenda at the two-day meeting brokered by Russia, Iran and Turkey is expected to focus on how to come up with a lasting ceasefire. Russia has backed the government of President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey has supported the rebels.
The negotiations will bring together representatives from the armed opposition, along with delegates from the Syrian Government, Russia, Turkey, Iran and the United Nations. Russia’s main negotiator, Alexander Lavrentyev,UN Special Envoy on Syria, Staffan de Mistura,Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Bashar al-Jafaari is also participating in the talks. The US ambassador to Kazakhstan is scheduled to participate as an observer.
Syrian Government has said observance and separation of the Syrian armed opposition from terrorist groups will be in focus of the talks.The opposition has said that its sole focus will be to shore up a nationwide ceasefire. Major rebel groups are represented in the talks but militants including Islamic State (IS) are excluded. More than 300,000 people have been killed and 11 million displaced in almost six years of conflict.