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Russia, Iran, Turkey to hold Syria talks next week: Kazakh FM

The talks will be held on November 28-29 in the Kazakh capital [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 November, 2018

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Kazakhstan's foreign minister said Syria peace talks will be held in the capital Astana next week.
Russia, Iran and Turkey will hold the next round of talks on Syria's conflict on 29 and 28 November in the Kazakh capital Astana, Kazakhstan's foreign minister confirmed on Monday.  

"The participants plan to discuss the current situation in Syria, in particular in Idlib, creating conditions for the return of refugees and internally displaced people, and post-conflict reconstruction," Kairat Abdrakhmanov said in Astana.

The meeting will be the 11th in the Astana peace process - set up in early 2017 by Russia and Iran, who support President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria, and opposition backer Turkey. 

Abdrakhmanov said representatives of Damascus and armed opposition groups would take part, but did not specify what level of officials from Russia, Iran and Turkey would attend.   

The Astana process was launched after Russia's military intervention in Syria tipped the balance in the regime's favour. It has gradually eclipsed an earlier UN-sponsored negotiations framework known as the Geneva process. 

This month's meeting comes with continued violence threatening plans for a buffer zone around Idlib, the last major opposition stronghold in Syria.

Russia and Turkey agreed in September to set up the buffer zone to avert a Syrian regime offensive, but the formerly al-Qaeda linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, who hold around 70 percent of the area, have refused to withdraw.

Meanwhile, Arab nations have been seemingly been warming up to the Syrian government, with reports of a number of embassies reopening in Damascus.

Earlier this month, Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported the UAE is negotiating the reopening of its embassy in Syria and return of its ambassador to Damascus, six years after the mission was closed due to the country's bloody war.

But fighting in the war-torn country has continued, with rebels on Friday killing 22 regime fighters in an attack on government forces in the northwest of Hama province near the planned zone.

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