Astana talks end with breakthrough to resolve Syria crisis

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-01-25 09:24

Astana talks end with breakthrough to resolve Syria crisis

The Syrian government delegation participates in the meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, Jan. 23, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

DAMASCUS -- The Syrian talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, ended on Tuesday, with a final communique backing a one year ceasefire reached recently in Syria, and brought six-year-old foes face to face for the first time.

Turkey, Russia and Iran, the three sponsors of the two-day Syrian talks, made a joint statement at the end of the meeting, stressing their commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria.

They said the three countries support talks between the Syrian government and armed opposition groups and believe that there is no military solution to the conflict.

The parties reaffirmed their commitment to reach peace and fight against the terror-designated Islamic State (IS) and the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and to separate them from other armed opposition groups.

The statement also supports the Syrian opposition's willingness to participate in the next round of negotiations.

The three states highlighted that the international meeting in Astana is an effective platform for a direct dialogue between the Syrian government and opposition.

The Russian, Iranian and Turkish sides have decided "to establish a trilateral mechanism to observe and ensure full compliance with the ceasefire, prevent any provocations and determine all modalities of the ceasefire," according to the statement.

In short, the conference consolidated the ceasefire that was reached on Dec. 29 and implemented on Dec. 30 in Syria. The signatories of the ceasefire were the government and rebel groups, under the auspices of their backers, Russia as the supporter of the Syrian government, and Turkey the long time backer of the rebels.

The Astana talks also stressed on the need to separate the rebel groups, mainly those who attended the conference, from the terror-labeled ones such as Nusra and IS, as both groups have been labeled as terrorist groups by the UN and were excluded from any settlement.

This was a main demand of the Syrian government and this conference has helped in cornering the Nusra and IS, both powerful and enjoy considerable sway in many Syrian areas, mainly the northern city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of IS, and the northwestern province of Idlib, the main stronghold of Nusra.

Russia said Monday that maps were being drawn on the locations of IS and Nusra in Syria for targeting them.

Analysts in Damascus hailed the results of the Astana talks, but said it all relies on the credibility of Turkey and the rebels it has vouched for.

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