Astana talks marred by Syrian armed opposition boycott

Astana talks marred by Syrian armed opposition boycott

Days after a high-level meeting between Russia and Turkey, Syria’s armed opposition refuse to attend new round of talks.


Istanbul, Turkey - The first day of the Astana talks on the six-year-old Syrian war wrapped up without the participation of the armed opposition.
Mohamed Alloush, the head of the Syrian opposition delegation at the first round of talks, told Al Jazeera that the decision to boycott was taken because their demands were not being addressed.
"The Russians did not abide by their promises. They didn't release prisoners, they didn't stop the bombing, they didn't stop the forced displacement," Aloush said.
Abdul Majeed Barakat, political adviser to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions involved in the Turkey-backed Euphrates Shield Operation in northern Syria, told Al Jazeera that the opposition was not clear on what the plans were for this round of talks in Kazakhstan's capital - and Turkey didn't push it to attend.
"The Turks did not really encourage the participation [of the opposition]. They didn’t stop it, but they didn't encourage it either," said Barakat.
Commenting on the boycott, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the reasons the opposition offered were "unconvincing". He said the no-show was "unexpected", and on Monday he talked with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, about it.
"We have reason to believe that there is some kind of a misunderstanding. In any case, the Astana meeting will proceed along the way which was outlined in the UNSC resolution 2254," he told journalists at a press conference in Moscow.

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