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UN envoy discusses Syria constitutional body with Turkey, Iran, Russia

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura speaks to the media following a meeting as part of an international conference on the future of Syria and the region in Brussels on April 24, 2018.

UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura has held "substantive" talks with officials from Iran, Russia and Turkey over the planned formation of Syria's constitutional committee and how it would function.

"During the meeting, constructive exchanges and substantive discussions took place on issues relevant to the establishment and functioning of a constitutional committee, and some common ground is beginning to emerge," de Mistura said in a statement after talks in Geneva on Tuesday.

The UN envoy noted that more such talks are planned in the coming weeks.

Iran, Russia and Turkey have mediated nine rounds of crisis resolution talks between the Syrian government and opposition in the Kazakh capital Astana since January 2017, a month after they joined efforts and brought about an all-Syria ceasefire.

The three states act as the guarantors of the truce.

The Astana peace process has significantly helped reduce the violence in Syria through the formation of four de-escalation zones in the country, setting the stage for Syria’s warring sides to focus on negotiations on the political future of their homeland.

The negotiations in Astana have been going on along with another series of talks held in Geneva, Switzerland, and brokered by the UN. Previous rounds of negotiations under the auspices of the world body over the past five years have failed to achieve tangible results.

Syria has been gripped by militancy caused by multiple factions and groups since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the Arab country.

In recent months, Takfiri militants have lost much of the territory they once held in Syria. UN figures show that the number of people internally displaced in the violence-hit country has risen to 6.2 million. This is while there are still some 5.6 million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries.

Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives during the conflict.

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