Syrian Rebels Expected In Astana On Wednesday Night: Kazakhstan Foreign Ministry

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(Reuters) – Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry said Syria’s rebel delegation was expected in Astana on Wednesday night for peace talks this week aimed at ending the six-year civil war, a spokesman for the ministry said.

The rebels will come for consultations with Russia, Turkey and Iran, the spokesman said. The Syrian opposition had previously said it would skip the talks and accused Moscow of failing to uphold a ceasefire brokered last December.

“Representatives of the southern and northern fronts (of the Syrian armed opposition) are expected to arrive tonight,” the spokesman said.

“They will hold consultations tomorrow with experts from the guarantor countries (Russia, Turkey, Iran) on the observation of the cessation of hostilities agreement.”

The current round of talks was originally scheduled to end on Wednesday.

Russia backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the conflict, and has launched a diplomatic peace initiative after its air force helped the Syrian government defeat rebels in Aleppo in December – Assad’s biggest victory of the war.

Six years since the start of the uprising against Assad, he is winning on the battlefield but Syria’s civil war is far from over, with his once stable country broken into fiefdoms ruled by rebels and warlords.

(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov, writing by Dasha Afanasieva, editing by Maria Kiselyova)