17:00 GMT +318 October 2018
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    Russia Trying to 'Transform Military Feats in Syria Into Political Success'

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    Syrian Peace Talks in Astana (173)

    Russia has aspired to build on its battlefield achievements in Syria and turn them into a political victory by kick starting the peace process, Abdulrahman Mustafa, a political representative of the Sultan Murad Division and the Syrian Turkmen Assembly, told Sputnik.

    "Russia has tried to transform its military achievements in Syria into a political success. In this respect, it is particularly significant that Russia has officially invited representatives of the Syrian opposition to take part in the talks, serving as a nation-guarantor and mediator of the negotiations process. Russia is a major stakeholder in Syria; it has influence on the ground. This is why Russia's initiative is so significant," he explained.

    Abdulrahman Mustafa is taking part in the talks aimed at expanding and enhancing the fragile ceasefire regime in Syria. The two-day negotiations are taking place in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.

    The Sultan Murad Division, which is part of the Free Syrian Army, is one of several groups taking part in the talks that have brought together representatives of President Bashar al-Assad and armed rebel groups fighting to overthrow him. Daesh and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra Front) were not invited, while Ahrar al-Sham decided not to come.

    "Since the talks in Astana have focused on the ceasefire regime in Syria, there are many representatives of armed groups at the meeting," Abdulrahman Mustafa said. "Representatives of opposition forces from all over Syria, including southern regions and the Daraa province have arrived in Astana."

    On December 29, Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled that Damascus and several key armed militias signed a ceasefire deal and several other documents aimed at launching a peace process to end the six-year-long war. The truce has largely held since then, although both sides have accused each other of violations.

    The agreements were brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran, with Moscow and Ankara serving as guarantors of the ceasefire.

    Abdulrahman Mustafa said that the armed opposition "is committed to rigorous compliance with the ceasefire regime" and advocates "sustained political resolution" of the Syrian conflict. "Our goal is to end bloodshed and the war which is hurting the Syrian people," he added.

    The second day of indirect talks is expected to end with a press conference scheduled to take place at 8:00 a.m. GMT at the Kazmedia center located across the street from the Rixos President hotel where the Syria talks are held. All delegations are said to be planning to participate in the press conference.

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    Syrian Peace Talks in Astana (173)


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    Syrian crisis, jihadist rebels, Syrian peace talks, peace talks, Syrian conflict, opposition, Abdulrahman Mustafa, Syria, Russia, Astana
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