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    The Objective of the Astana Peace Talks: 'Syria Should Belong to Syrians'

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    Syrian Peace Talks in Astana (173)
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    Ahead of the Syrian peace talks which are scheduled to start in Kazakhstan's capital Astana on Monday, Sputnik Turkiye has spoken to Turkish parliamentarians and defense analysts about the possible outcome of the negotiations and the aims of Iran, Turkey and Russia, the foreign guarantors of the talks, as well as those of the Syrian opposition.

    "The principal goal of Turkey is to secure peace in Syria and the territorial integrity of the country," Foreign Affairs Commission member and ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Samsun deputy Hasan Basri Kurt told Sputnik Turkiye.

    The parliamentarian also noted that the war in Syria has been going on for more than five years, during which the county has experienced heavy losses, upheavals, pain and the death of tens of thousands of civilians.

    "We hope that the country will overcome this pain and heal the wounds left by the war. The meeting in Astana is the vital initiative of Russia and Turkey, aimed at reaching peace and stability in Syria. The whole world is treating this initiative with respect and is watching the developments with anxiety," he said.

    Basri Kurt explained that the aim of Turkey is to draw many more participants to the Syrian peace talks, to further secure peace and stability in the country.

    The parliamentarian also said that the negotiations in Astana are going to become yet another step forward after the recent talks in Geneva.

    "Astana is an important step forward. It is worth stressing that the countries of the region were eager to express their initiatives about the talks, unlike in Geneva. It is highly unlikely that it is going to be the only and the final meeting, however we hope that the participants in the talks will be able to agree on the continuation of the ceasefire and restoration of peace in the country," he told Sputnik.

    Basri Kurt also expressed hope that since the negotiation has been initiated by the key players in the region, it will bring some tangible results.

    In a separate comment, Dr. Celalettin Yavuz, a prominent political analyst and former foreign policy and security adviser to the head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has told Sputnik about the goals of the Syrian opposition. He said that one of the ideas to be discussed in Astana would be to bring the unified opposition groups together with the government army to fight against the terrorist groups raging in Syria.

    "Syria should belong to Syrians," he told Sputnik. Many Daesh recruits are foreign Islamic extremists who entered Syria to join the terrorist organization.

    "The Syrian government armed forces remain the major power in the country, which is able to draw together various groups operating in the country," he added.

    The political analyst expressed hope that Russia and Iran will continue their aid to the Syrian army, however stressing that it is Damascus which should be the chief commander of the operations against Daesh.

    The major aim of the negotiations in Astana, he said, is to agree upon the participation of Russian and Turkish officers in the continued fight against jihadists, and to bring in some members of the US-led coalition, if they want to participate.

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    Syrian Peace Talks in Astana (173)

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    Syrian ceasefire, Syrian peace talks, Syrian conflict, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Syria, Russia, Astana
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