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Syria Peoples' Congress May Happen Next Month in Sochi

Syria Peoples' Congress May Happen Next Month in Sochi

Monday, 30 October, 2017 - 12:00
A fighter with the Syrian Democratic Forces stands guard on a rooftop in Raqqa, northern Syria on October 20, 2017 after the city's capture from ISIS. (AFP Photo/BULENT KILIC)

A Moscow-backed congress of all Syria's ethnic groups could take place in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi as soon as next month and launch work on drawing up a new constitution, the RIA news agency reported on Monday.

Citing a source familiar with the situation, RIA said the congress, the idea of which President Vladimir Putin first mentioned at a forum with foreign scholars earlier this month, could take place in mid-November.

At the same forum, Putin said he had all grounds to believe that Moscow, along with Damascus, would soon defeat “terrorists” in Syria.

The same viewpoint was expressed by a Russian lawmaker on Monday who said Russia expects to destroy all “terrorists” in Syria by the end of the year.

Interfax news agency quoted Viktor Bondarev, the head of the upper house of parliament's defense and security committee, as saying that Russia will leave a military contingent in Syria after defeating “terrorists” to prevent conflict.

"We will leave in Syria only those troops necessary to avert a possible repeat of this terrorism," he said.

A fresh round of peace talks seeking to end Syria's war opened in the Kazakh capital Astana on Monday, as part of a Moscow-led push supported by Iran and opposition backer Turkey.

The latest round of talks begins days after ISIS was forced out of its de facto capital Raqqa in northern Syria, in a major victory for the US-backed Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces.

Recent rounds of talks in the Central Asian nation have focused on ironing out the details of a Russia-led plan for four de-escalation zones in Syria.

Russia is the main backer of the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad.

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