The ninth round of the Astana talks on Syria, which mainly focuses on the de-escalation zones, started Monday with the participation of Turkish, Russian and Iranian delegations.The meeting in Kazakhstan's capital city Astana began with bilateral talks between the parties. At the talks, which the U.S. did not attend, the latest developments in the de-escalation zone, forming of the constitutional committee and the release of detainees were on the agenda. The main meeting will be held today, in which the representatives of the Assad regime and military opponents are expected to attend.
In the talks, the Russian President Vladimir Putin's special envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev was the head of the Russian delegation and Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari is at the head of the Iranian delegation. Also, the Turkish delegation is headed by Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sedat Önal. Turkey has set up the 11 military observation points in the Idlib region in accordance with the Astana agreement and will soon add another. Turkey, Russia and Iran are the guarantor countries that brokered a cease-fire in Syria in December 2016, leading to the Astana talks, which are running parallel to the Geneva talks for peace in Syria.
The three countries have carried out negotiations in the Kazakh capital since and agreed on the formation of five de-escalation zones in Syria. The de-escalation zone agreement envisages the halt of hostilities between Assad regime forces and moderate opposition groups within the zones as well as the creation of conditions for humanitarian access, medical assistance, the return of displaced civilians to their homes and the restoration of damaged infrastructure. The guarantor states previously agreed to take all measures necessary to continue fighting Daesh, the Nusra Front and other terrorist groups both within and beyond the de-escalation zones.