von Jungle World
A third round of Russian and Turkey-backed talks on the Syrian war opened in the Kazakh capital Astana on March 14 without armed rebel groups, leaving little hope for a breakthrough in ending the six-year conflict.
The talks, sponsored by regime allies Russia and Iran and rebel-backer Turkey, come as other diplomatic efforts to end the bloodshed have proved fruitless.
The talks were derailed as rebels boycotted the new round of meetings in Astana and the Kremlin indicated there were international divisions over the process.
Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s most powerful ally, said the rebels’ reasons for staying away were unconvincing and their decision came as a surprise. Describing the rebels as Turkish proxies, the Syrian government envoy said Ankara had broken “its commitments” to the Astana process.
The rebels said they would not attend the talks, scheduled for March 14 and March 15, because of what they called Russia’s unwillingness to end air strikes on rebel-held areas and its failure to get the Syrian army and Iranian-backed militia to abide by a cease-fire.
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