Fourth round of Syrian peace talks kicks off in Astana

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The international meeting on Syria starts in the Kazakh capital of Astana on Wednesday. This is the fourth round of talks on Syria Astana hosts since the beginning of the year.

The delegations will spend the first day in consultations and on May 4 a plenary session will be held, the Russian News Agency TASS reports.

On the eve of the forum, expert discussions took place between the official Damascus and Iran, Russia and Turkey, Iran and Turkey.

Russia's delegation in Astana will be led by the presidential special envoy for the Syrian crisis settlement Alexander Lavrentiev, Iran's delegation is headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Ansari, and Turkey's delegation is led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal.

Special representative of the UN Secretary-General Staffan de Mistura and Nauaf Oufi Tel, political adviser to Jordan's Foreign Minister, will take part in the meeting as observers.

For the first time, the US will be represented on a higher level at the meeting � US Assistant Secretary of State for Middle East Affairs Stuart Jones will arrive in Astana.

The delegation of the Syrian government will be headed by the permanent representative of Syria to the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari, the delegation of the armed opposition will be led by the representative of the Jaysh al-Islam group Mohammed Allush.

Russia, Iran and Turkey have set up a joint task force to monitor the ceasefire in Syria.

On the eve of the Astana meeting media reported that Russia suggested establishing four zones to reduce tension in Syria. It is assumed that the military guarantor countries will be sent to these areas for monitoring.

Earlier, Yahya al-Aridi, adviser to the opposition's Supreme Committee on Negotiations told TASS it is possible that this topic will be discussed. At the same time, there has been no official confirmation of the existence of such initiatives of the Russian party.

Source: National information agency of Tajikistan