Astana conference ends with trilateral pledge to enforce Syrian truce

Each side denounced the other as "terrorist" and the same question that has stymied previous attempts at peace talks, the future of Syria's President Assad, emerged early in the talks, with the "rebels" demanding his ouster as a pre-condition for a peace settlement, and the government insisting that his status is not up for discussion.

Russian Federation and Turkey led efforts on these latest Syria peace talks, after Syrian rebels suffered a major defeat in December of last year by losing control of districts of eastern Aleppo they had held for almost four years.

The rebels' loss of their former urban stronghold, Aleppo, has shifted the momentum of the fighting in favour of Assad.

Astana, Kazachstan - Russia, Turkey and Iran have pledged to strengthen a fragile ceasefire in Syria, even as opposition negotiators expressed reservations over Tehran's role in monitoring the truce. We are not party to this agreement.

Al-Jaafari had described Alloush to journalists as head of the "delegation of the armed terrorist groups" and saying his speech was "irrelevant" and "delivered with bad manners".

Lavrov and Cavusoglu "underlined the importance of establishing direct contact between the Syrian government and representatives of the opposition", the ministry said in a statement.

U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura arrives to attend the talks on Syrian peace in Astana, Kazakhstan, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017.

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But in Astana, the 14-member opposition delegation is composed exclusively of rebels leading the armed uprising, with members of the political opposition serving as advisors. "It's now time to use them". Experts say a breakthrough could see some of the armed opposition join next month's talks in Geneva.

He added the violation of the cease-fire by the regime constituted the "biggest" obstacle.

Despite the supposed cease-fire agreement, new clashes were reported in Wadi Barada, a besieged rebel-held area and source for most of the drinking water for Damascus, the Syrian capital. Rebels charged back that they were exploiting the pauses in fighting to gain the upper hand at the negotiating table. Alloush added that the Syrian opposition will not engage in any talks with Iran and will not accept any statement by Tehran on Syria's future.He said that he had given a proposal to Russian Federation on the ceasefire, and expects an answer within a week.

"That's what makes what was decided today different in my opinion - to take care of this type of ambiguity, which is unsafe because it can be misused, and can become a cause for breaking the ceasefire", de Mistura told TRT World. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari is also participating. "Things remain unclear", the FSA commander said.

Peace talks aimed at ending the Syria conflict entered the second day on Tuesday in Kazakhstan's capital Astana.

"The issue here is not about who is happy and who is not happy". "Finally we have a consensual paper [the joint statement] agreed upon by everybody", he said.

"Everyone agreed on fighting Daesh, there is no question about that", Syrian regime delegate Al Rayyes told TRT World.

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Neither Al-Nusra nor ISIL was invited to the conference. "This is the only way to create an atmosphere that can stop terrorism in Syria".

Whether Trump's offhand comment about "another chance" for seizing oil was directed at Iraq or is an indication of the threat of new and even bloodier wars of aggression against Iran or even Russian Federation is unclear.

As the Astana talks continued, Moscow and Washington engaged in a public dispute Monday over whether the US -led coalition was now working with the Russian military in Syria. We sent our proposal to Mistura. They negotiated instead in separate rooms, through mediators.

Meanwhile, Zahra Fares, a Syrian journalist and political analyst, said Astana talks achieved things that failed to be reached in previous talks between the government and the political opposition.

"We came here to reinforce the ceasefire as the first phase of this process", Alloush said in comments broadcast online.

Much of the discussion in Astana took place through the sponsoring delegations and the United Nations special envoy, Staffan de Mistura.

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