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    Mohammed Alloush, head of a Syrian opposition delegation, center, speaks to the media after the talks on Syrian peace in Astana, Kazakhstan, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017

    Syrian Armed Opposition Confirms Receiving Invitation to Attend Astana Talks

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    Fatih Hassoun, a representative of Syria's armed opposition, said Sunday that the opposition groups consider Russia's new invitation to attend the Syrian settlement talks in Astana in May as a chance to improve the situation on the ground in the war-plagued country.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Syrian armed opposition has received an invitation to attend the Syrian settlement talks in Astana in May and neither of opposition groups has voiced against participation in the negotiations, Hassoun told Sputnik on Sunday.

    "We have received an official proposal, and there are arguments in favor of participation in [the] Astana [talks]. We have not heard a demand not to go [to Astana] from any leaders of the [armed] groups. Vise versa they consider new Russia's proposal as something that could improve the situation on the ground. There are no strong voices opposing attending [the talks]," Hassoun said.

    Hassoun stressed that the people of Russia and Syria have a strong connection "since the start of forming of the Syrian Arab Republic."

    "We hope that Russia would be a guarantor of the [settlement] process, not its party," Hassoun added.

    On Wednesday and Thursday, Kazakhstan's capital is expected to host the fourth round of talks between Damascus and the Syrian opposition. The Asian city has already hosted three rounds of talks brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran, held on January 23-24, February 15-16 and March 14-15. Washington has participated as an observer in the previous rounds of Astana talks.

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    intra-Syrian talks, opposition, Syria, Russia, Astana
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