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    A Syrian national flag flutters near a general view of eastern Aleppo after Syrian government soldiers took control of al-Sakhour neigborhood in Aleppo, Syria in this handout picture provided by SANA on November 28, 2016.

    Syrian Armed Opposition, Damascus Swap Hostages Near Aleppo - Russian MoD

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    Under the auspices of the Astana accords, armed opposition groups near Aleppo exchanged 10 hostages for 10 militants held captive by Syrian forces, according to the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation.

    In July, the Syrian government submitted a list of over 10,000 nationals believed to be held hostage by the opposition, as part of a project on the swap of those detained by opposition forces.

    Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov told Sputnik on Friday that the Syrian armed opposition will be present at the next Astana peace talks.

    Negotiators will seek to reaffirm the warring parties’ commitment to ceasefire in areas across Syria. A working group on prisoner exchanges will meet for a regular, sixth session, the diplomat stressed.

    Astana will host the eleventh round of the so-called Astana process next Wednesday and Thursday. Russia, Turkey and Iran will take part in the talks, as well as the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition.

    The Astana format comprises Russia, Iran, and Turkey, the three guarantor states of a Syrian ceasefire. Parallel talks on Syrian peace are conducted under the UN aegis in the Swiss capital of Geneva, and by the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in the Russian resort city of Sochi.

    READ MORE: 'Zero Evidence': Syrian Opposition Has No Chemical Weapons — Pentagon

    At talks in the Russian resort city of Sochi on September 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to set up a demilitarized zone in Idlib by October 15 along the contact line of the armed opposition and the government forces.

    The withdrawal of heavy weaponry operated by militants is also part of that agreement. However, the creation of the demilitarized zone is still not complete, as terrorists continue attacks.

    READ MORE: Meeting on Syria to Take Place in Astana on 28-29 November

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    swap, hostages, Astana talks on Syria, Russian center for Syrian reconciliation, Syria, Aleppo
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