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Sixth round of Syrian peace negotiations kicks off in Astana

Syrian delegations attend the fourth round of Syria peace talks in Astana on May 4, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Representatives from the Syrian government and foreign-sponsored armed opposition have started the sixth round of negotiations in the Kazakh city of Astana to resolve the Syrian conflict.

The two-day negotiations which kicked off on Thursday are mainly aimed at working out the details of an agreement to create a fourth de-escalation zone in Syria in the western province of Idlib.

The negotiations are supervised by Iran, Russia and Turkey as the mediators of the talks.

The first meeting was held between the Russian delegation headed by Moscow’s special envoy on Syria Alexander Lavrentiev and UN special envoy for Syria Staffan De Mistura.

The next meeting is scheduled to be held between the Russian and US delegations.

Earlier on Wednesday, representatives from Iran, Russia and Turkey held an expert-level meeting on how on a de-escalation zone in Idlib Province.

Participants attend the fourth round of Syria peace talks in Astana on May 5, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Since January, Astana has hosted five rounds of peace talks which have so far resulted in an agreement on four de-escalation zones across Syria.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, three of the enclaves had been created to date, in the country’s sprawling central province of Homs, in the Eastern Ghouta area of the southern Rif Dimashq Province, and a southwestern militant-controlled stretch along the border with Jordan.

Formation of a de-escalation zone in Idlib, where significant concentrations of Takfiri terrorists, most notably from al-Nusra Front, are operating, is expected to give civilians an opportunity to return to peaceful life in the province.

The talks in Astana have been going on in tandem with UN-brokered Geneva talks.

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