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Fresh round of Syria talks begin in Kazakh capital

The 11th round of talks on the Syria crisis have kicked off in the Kazakh capital, with the presence of representatives from the Damascus government and opposition as well as the three guarantor states of the Astana peace process.

The discussions, which began on Wednesday, will mainly focus on the situation in the de-escalation zone set up in Syria’s northwestern Idlib Province and the creation of a constitutional committee in the war-torn country.

Moreover, issues such as confidence-building measures between Syria’s opposite sides, fight against terrorist outfits and the return of Syrian refugees to their homes would be raised during the two-day negotiations.

In addition to representatives from the Syrian government and opposition groups, delegations from Iran, Russia and Turkey, which are acting as the guarantors of an all-Syria ceasefire, as well as international observers – the UN and Jordan – will attend the talks.

The Astana talks have so far resulted in the return of a succession of militant bastions to the government fold, the establishment of safe zones across Syria and the movement of civilians to those regions.

The Syrian government’s delegation, headed by the country’s UN Ambassador Bashar al-Ja’afari, arrived in the Kazakh capital on Tuesday for the Astana negotiations.

Hossein Jaberi Ansari, senior assistant to the Iranian foreign minister on special political affairs, Russian Special Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev and Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal will also lead the delegations of the guarantor states to the talks.

Heydar Beck Tomatov, director of Asia and Africa department at the Kazakh Foreign Ministry, said in a statement that bilateral and tripartite consultations will be held in the first day of the Astana meeting and that the second day will feature the general session.

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