The fifth round of Syrian peace talks in Kazakhstan's capital Astana may commence next week, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov said yesterday."Russia has informed us that they are going to invite guarantor countries to meet in Astana on June 12-13," Abdrakhmanov told reporters.Abdrakhmanov said Russia, Turkey and Iran are to inform Kazakhstan in the coming days about the meeting's agenda and composition.He added that in addition to guarantor countries, representatives from the Syrian regime, the Syrian armed opposition and observer states are also expected to attend.
Abdrakhmanov mentioned how during the previous meeting in Astana on May 4, Russia, Turkey and Iran signed a deal to establish de-escalation zones in Syria.
"During this meeting, specifics on implementing the deal are expected, namely determining how these de-escalation zones will function," he explained.
The Astana meetings, officially known as the International Meetings on Syrian Settlement, intend to bring both the regime of Bashar Assad and Syrian opposition forces together in order to work out a solution to the ongoing Syrian civil war.
According to the memorandum signed in Astana, there will be several de-escalation zones in Idlib, parts of Aleppo, Latakia, Homs, Damascus/Eastern Ghouta and parts of Daraa and Quneitra.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the regime ruthlessly cracked down on pro-democracy protests that had erupted as part of the Arab Spring uprisings.
Since then, more than 400,000 people have been killed and more than 11 million displaced, 6.3 million internally and 5.1 million externally, according to the U.N.