Push pressure on regime
Syria's opposition yesterday said it was more important "than ever before" that Russia push Bashar al-Assad's government towards a political settlement, as new peace talks kicked off in Kazakhstan.
A new round of Syria peace talks backed by powerbrokers Russia, Iran and Turkey began earlier yesterday in the Kazakh capital Astana as major powers seek to revive a hobbled peace process.
Delegations from Russia, Iran and Turkey along with Syrian regime representatives and a 20-strong opposition delegation had all arrived in the Kazakh capital Astana for two days of talks, a Kazakh foreign ministry spokesman said.
The UN's envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, is expected to attend the second day of talks today, the ministry added.
Yesterday, de Mistura will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.
In Astana, the Syrian delegation urged Russia to push Assad's government towards a peace settlement.
"We are asking the Russian side, now more than ever before, to put pressure on the regime to push it towards a political settlement," the Syrian opposition delegation said in a statement after meeting with a United Nations team.
"The detainees are the priority for the military delegation. We will focus on this cause with the Russian delegation," the statement added.
The Syrian negotiators will also focus on the reinforcement of the ceasefire, especially in the de-escalation zones, as well as the lifting of sieges on all towns and villages and the delivery of assistance to those in need, the statement said.
Syria's SANA state news agency reported that Russia's delegation had "met separately with the Iranian and Turkish delegations."