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Syria peace talks kick off in Astana, Kazakhstan

Syria peace talks kick off in Astana, KazakhstanPeace talks on the Syrian conflict have begun in the Kazakh capital, Astana.

Russia takes on the role of Middle East power broker during the meeting commenced Monday that scheduled to last for two days.

The meeting is taking place a luxury hotel in the Kazakh capital, Astana, and will focus on how to extend the ceasefire negotiated in the wake of the opposition’s crushing military defeat in Aleppo, Syria’s second city, at the hands of the Russian air force and Iranian-backed militias.

It had been hoped the talks would lead to a face-to-face meeting between opposition fighters and representatives of Bashar al-Assad’s government. However, rebels said on Monday they had no plans for direct talks.

Jihadists such as so-called Islamic State (IS) are excluded. Kazakhstan's foreign ministry says it expects the talks to be finished by Tuesday.
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