Astana: Fresh peace talks brokered by Russia, Iran and Turkey have started in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan to resolve the Syrian conflict.
Both Russia and Iran are supporting the current regime of Syria under president Bashar Al Assad while Turkey is backing the rebels, this is the first time that armed Syrian rebels are also included in the opposition delegation.
United States will also be represented at the peace negotiations by its ambassador to Kazakhstan while Steffan de Mistura, the UN Syria envoy will also be attending the negotiations.
However, the rebels have refused to negotiate directly with the Syrian government.
According to the foreign ministry of Kazakhstan the negotiations will be completed by Tuesday, extremist groups like the Islamic State, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and al-Qaeda are not included in the peace negotiations.
Certain recent facts have forced the rebels to come to negotiations, firstly their defeat in December and the loss of Aleppo, their main stronghold. Secondly their major supporter, Turkey has forged an alliance with Russia to end the fighting in Aleppo.
The head of the Syrian delegation, Bashar al-Jaafari told state media: “This would be a test of the credibility and seriousness of the participants, whether those who will be sitting at the discussion table or their operators.”
The last round of negotiations between the Syrian government and the rebels were organised by the United Nations but they were unsuccessful and were suspended in 2016.
The Syrian civil war has turned into one of the bloodiest armed conflict of this century, more than 300,000 people have been killed while over 11 million Syrians have been displaced during the past six years.