- Title: Syria's warring parties gather for new attempt to break deadlock
- Date: 23rd January 2017
- Summary: ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN (JANUARY 23, 2017) (REUTERS) ****WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VARIOUS FLAGS NEAR TALKS VENUE CONFERENCE HALL SIGN READING (English) "INTERNATIONAL MEETING ON SYRIAN SETTLEMENT- ASTANA, JANUARY 23-24, 2017" HASHTAG ON WALL (English) #PEACE4SYRIA DELEGATIONS WALKING INTO CONFERENCE HALL IRANIAN DELEGATION KAZAKH DELEGATION IN THE CONFERENCE HALL GOVERNMENT DELEGATION ARRIVING U.N. SPECIAL ENVOY STAFFAN DE MISTURA DELEGATION TAKING SEATS DE MISTURA TALKING TO DELEGATE DE MISTURA TALKING TO IRANIAN DELEGATION CONFERENCE HALL HEAD OF SYRIAN GOVERNMENT DELEGATION BASHAR AL-JAAFARI SYRIAN OPPOSITION EMPTY SEATS AND SYRIAN GOVERNMENT DELEGATION IN PLACE SYRIAN OPPOSITION DELEGATION VARIOUS OF DE MISTURA TALKING TO OPPOSITION DELEGATION DE MISTURA ENTERING HALL WITH THE OPPOSITION DELEGATION VARIOUS OF OPPOSITION DELEGATION ENTERING HALL VARIOUS OF OPPOSITION DELEGATION MOHAMMAD ALLOUSH, HEAD OF OPPOSITION DELEGATION, AT TALKS VARIOUS OF MEETING IN PROGRESS
- Embargoed: 6th February 2017 09:53
- Keywords: Middle East Syria talks peace Astana
- Location: ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN
- City: ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN
- Country: Kazakhstan
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA00160AUJIF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A Syrian opposition delegation to peace talks in the Kazakh capital on Monday (January 23) said it would only discuss ways to salvage a fragile Russian-Turkish ceasefire it sees as having been violated chiefly by Iranian-backed militias in Syria.
The Syrian government considers most of the rebel groups attending the conference to be foreign-backed "terrorists", but says it is ready to engage in talks with armed groups that surrender their arms and enter reconciliation deals.
Mainstream rebel groups under the banner of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) have rejected these terms, saying their goal is to end President Bashar al Assad's rule through a U.N. backed political transition process.
The 14-member team has taken no decision on holding face-to-face talks with the government delegation after the start of the conference, he said, adding that it was likely to be via intermediaries like the previous U.N.-backed Geneva conferences.
The Syrian government has long denied using its aerial superiority to bomb civilians in rebel-held areas in a conflict that has killed tens of thousands.
U.N. investigators have also accused both government and rebels of committing war crimes during the conflict.
The delegation, which faced enormous pressure from regional backer Turkey to attend the talks branded a sellout by other rebel groups, was meeting round the clock to decide whether to attend the opening session, where it would be in the same room as Syrian government representatives.
A senior opposition negotiator, Osama Abu Zaid, told Reuters the opposition hoped Russia would play a role in reining in Iranian-backed militias whom it blames for trying to help the Syrian army.
The opposition has been disappointed by what it calls Moscow's inability to fulfill its role as deal guarantor and put pressure on militias led by Lebanon's Hezbollah group, saying this threatens to wreck the ceasefire deal brokered in December.
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