Russia, Turkey, Iran to hold Syria talks in Astana next week

Two-day Astana conference to begin on November 28 with participation of ‘guarantor countries’ and Syrian delegations.

Russia, Turkey and Iran are set to hold a next round of talks on Syria on November 28 and 29 in the Kazakh capital Astana, according to Kazakhstan‘s Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov.

Delegations of the Syrian government and the opposition are also expected to attend, Abdrakhmanov was quoted as saying by Russia‘s Tass news agency on Monday.

He also said that the United Nations and Jordanwere invited as observers.

The November talks will be the 11th conference organised by Moscow, Ankara and Tehran, including nine held in Astana.

The biggest achievement of the trio is the creation of de-escalation zones, which they claim to have reduced the level of violence in the country.

The last Moscow-led conference in the Astana format took place in Russia’s southern city of Sochi in July.

Syria’s war has killed more than 360,000 people since it started in 2011 with the police crackdown on anti-government protests.

The Syrian government has regained control over the majority of the country’s territory since the Russian military intervened in 2015, backing President Bashar al-Assad‘s government.

On Saturday, the regime recaptured a volcanic plateau in the south of Syria from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) armed group after weeks of fighting. 

State news agency SANA reported that pro-government forces had made “a great advance in Tulul al-Safa” and were combing the area for any remaining ISIL fighters.

The development leaves ISIL in the Deir Az Zor pocket, although it also has a presence in the vast Badia desert stretching across the country to the border with Iraq.

Iraqi military boosts defences against ISIL at the border with Syria