turkey convinces syrian opposition to join astana
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Turkey convinces Syrian opposition to join Astana

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Arab Today, arab today Turkey convinces Syrian opposition to join Astana

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Turkey has been in talks with Syrian opposition group in order to convince them to participate in the Syrian peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana on Jan. 23, a Turkish official told Xinhua.

The meetings with some of the representatives of opposition groups in Ankara took place last week, according to the official, who added that Ankara is also attempting to convince rebels to extend the fragile ceasefire in Syria brokered by Russian and Turkish mediation.

Officials from Turkey, Russia and Iran will meet prior to the Astana talks, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday.

Cavusoglu added that guarantors are working on a document regarding the ceasefire, whereas Ankara and Moscow are working on a document to impose sanctions in case of truce violation.

The minister blamed regime forces and its allies for ongoing ceasefire violations.

He said that they are still in discussions regarding participants in the Astana meeting and Kazakhstan will eventually send invites for the peace talks.

A nationwide ceasefire began in Syria on December 30, 2016, to pave the way for new peace talks on Syria.

Russia and Turkey serve as guarantors of the ceasefire deal, paving the way for negotiations between the Syrian regime and rebels.

Turkish officials exerted tremendous efforts to save the ceasefire declared toward the end of 2016, as it was on the brink of collapsing due to the military operations by the Syrian regime and its allies in Wadi Barada, a rebel-held area near the Syrian capital.

Syrian opposition groups complained of the airstrikes in the provinces of Hama and Idlib, and a regime advance toward Damascus's Eastern Ghouta suburb.

In talks in Ankara last week, Turkey convinced some of the opposition groups who had previously declared they were not participating in the upcoming political peace talks citing government violation of the truce, according to the Turkish official, who asked to remain anonymous.

The ceasefire is still a fragile one with outbreaks of violence in Wadi Barada, Damascus's main source of water. Apparently, the Syrian regime and Hezbollah reportedly attacked a town in Wadi Barada with rocket fire.

Iranian officials informed their Turkish counterparts that Tehran " is sticking to the ceasefire, but rebels want to seize the Wadi Barada dam and the regime ally regional struggle is all about that," another Turkish official told Xinhua.

Turkey supports the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a combination of Sunni Arab and Turkmen forces such as Nour al-Din al-Zinki, Sultan Murad and the Mutassim Brigade.

Turkey and Russia established centers in Moscow and Ankara to monitor the ceasefire in Syria as well as to evaluate violation claims. Two guarantors have already processed truce violation complaints in these centers, said he official.

Turkish and Russian delegations met in Moscow last week to discuss the upcoming Astana talks, a Turkish diplomat told Xinhua.

On Jan. 14, the main Syrian opposition umbrella group which participated in previous peace talks in Geneva, the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), stated their "readiness to support the military delegation to be established by the opposition to attend the talks" in the Kazakh capital.

The group also said the Astana talks "pave the way for the political talks" scheduled on Feb. 8 in Geneva.

source: Xinhua

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