9th round of Astana talks to be held next week

ANADOLU AGENCY
ASTANA
Published

The ninth round of Astana talks on Syria will take place on May 14-15, Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry announced yesterday.

According to a written statement by the ministry, the talks will be attended by the three guarantor countries - Turkey, Russia and Iran - and representatives of the Syrian regime as well as opposition groups. The statement also said observer countries, the U.S. and Jordan, were invited to the meeting.

The latest developments in the de-escalation zones and humanitarian issues are among the main topics expected to be discussed, it added. During the eighth round of peace talks aimed at ending the Syria conflict on Dec. 21-22, 2017, the delegations agreed on the release of detainees and mine cleaning in historical sites in the country.

Also, the Turkish military yesterday announced that it has set up a tenth observation point in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. In its official Twitter account, the Turkish Armed Forces said: "No. 5 Observation Point, which is the tenth in Idlib region, has been established." Under the Astana agreement, Turkey is set to gradually establish 12 observation points, from Idlib's north to south.

Idlib, located in northwestern Syria on the Turkish border, has faced intense attacks by the Bashar Assad regime after a vicious civil war broke out in 2011. Since March 2015, Idlib is no longer under the control of the Assad regime and has been overrun by opposition groups.

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