Syrian gov't delegation to take part in upcoming Astana talks

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-31 17:22:15|Editor: ZX
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DAMASCUS, July 31 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian government delegation is leaving for Kazakhstan on Wednesday to take part in the 13th round of the Astana talks on Syria, the pro-government al-Watan newspaper reported.

The government delegation will take part in the talks that will be held in the Nur-Sultan, capital of Kazakhstan previously known as Astana.

Citing Western diplomatic sources, the newspaper said the UN Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen will not attend the meeting due to his medical condition.

It added that the envoy will send his deputy and other staffers.

Meanwhile, the paper said that the goal of the new round is to maintain the continuity of the talks, which, it said, had achieved progress on the ground.

The fresh round of talks also aims to discuss the situation in the northwestern province of Idlib, the last major rebels stronghold in Syria, and the fate of the resolutions and understandings between Turkey and Russia in that regard.

The two-day talks will be attended by delegations from the Syrian government, opposition groups, as well as Russian and Turkish envoys.

Yasser Abdul-Rahim, the spokesman of the opposition delegation to Astana talks, was cited by opposition sites as saying that he will attend the talks to push for a halt of the military campaign in Idlib and for the release of detainees from government prisons.

The situation in Idlib, which is the last major rebel stronghold in Syria, has been escalating since nearly two months ago when a Russian and Turkish-backed de-escalation zones' deal failed to materialize.

The Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the umbrella group of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, has been engaged in battles with the Syrian army in Idlib countryside and the adjacent northern countryside of the central province of Hama.