Iran, Syria discuss agenda of Astana talks

Tasnim – Diplomats from Iran and Syria met in Tehran to discuss the agenda of the seventh round of Syria peace negotiations in the Kazakh city of Astana and the latest developments in Syria.

In the meeting on Wednesday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari and Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad held talks on the most recent developments surrounding the de-escalation zones in Syria and the Arab country’s fight against terrorism.

They also discussed the agenda of the forthcoming Astana peace talks, the humanitarian situation in war-hit Syria and plans to deliver humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.

Diplomatic efforts to end fighting in Syria gained momentum in 2017 with the announcement of a ceasefire in the Arab country in early January.

Syria’s warring sides have so far attended six rounds of peace talks in Astana, brokered by Iran, Russia and Turkey, known as the guarantors of a ceasefire in the Arab country.

The fourth round of those talks in May produced a memorandum of understanding on de-escalation zones in Syria, sharply reducing fighting in the country.

During the sixth round of Astana talks in September, Iran, Russia and Turkey agreed on a deal to establish and patrol a de-escalation zone in Syria’s northern Idlib province. In early October, Turkey deployed tanks and military vehicles on its Syrian border, building up military presence in Idlib.

The next meeting on the Syrian crisis settlement in Astana will take place on October 30-31.

According to a report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.