Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Astana 7 Sets Issue of Detainees as its Priority

Astana 7 Sets Issue of Detainees as its Priority

Monday, 30 October, 2017 - 06:45
A general view shows the fifth round of Syria peace talks in Astana on July 5/AFP

Delegations of the Syrian armed opposition factions in addition to the Syrian regime, headed by Bashar Jaafari, have gradually arrived in the Kazakh capital on Sunday to participate in the intra-Syrian Astana 7 talks, expected to kick off on Monday, according to the Kazakh Foreign Ministry.

During the talks, the delegation of the Syrian opposition factions hopes to get clear responses on issues related to the detainees file.

“The priorities of the opposition delegation during the Astana 7 meetings is the issue of the detainees,” spokesman for the Syrian opposition Yahya al-Aridi told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Al-Aridi said that during the last round of the International Meeting on Syria in Astana, the three guarantors of the ceasefire have pledged that the file of detainees will be given a priority in the current talks.

The opposition factions also plans to present the issue of violations in the de-escalation zones, according to al-Aridi, who said: “The delegation wants to discuss the issue of violations, which are all conducted by the Syrian regime and their allies, or in other terms, the side guaranteed by Russia.”

The spokesperson asked the three guarantors of the ceasefire to offer pledges in this regard, saying that the opposition would have a different position if the violations continue.

Al-Aridi did not rule out the possibility that the Russian side also discuss the Congress of Peoples of Syria to be held at the Hmeimim air base on Nov. 18.

On Monday, the Kazakh capital will host a meeting sponsored by Russia, Iran and Turkey, the guarantors of a ceasefire in Syria, also attended by delegations from the opposition factions and the Syrian government in addition to experts from the UN.

Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry had previously announced that the meeting would focus on the files of detainees and the fate of those missing, in addition to battling terrorism and the situation in the de-escalation zones.

The Astana talks were preceded on Sunday by a phone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The two men discussed the latest developments in Syria, their continued coordination ahead of the seventh round of peace talks in Astana on Monday, efforts to safeguard operations in the de-escalation zones, in addition to means to battle terrorism.

At the battlefield, regime forces controlled on Sunday two new neighborhoods in the city of Deir Ezzor in east Syria, following fired clashes with ISIS militants.

During battles waged in the past 24 hours, 73 people were killed from both sides.

Editor Picks