May 27, 2018

Results of Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi

01 February 2018, 12:13 | Rufus Hill

Russian-backed peace talks endorse future path for Syria, but opposition and Kurds stay away

Russia-sponsored Syrian peace conference begins – without key opposition groups

"I don't even mention here the Syrian parties to the conflict", Lavrov said.

During the congress, a group of representatives from the armed Syrian opposition refused to exit the airport in Sochi arguing that they were "offended by the presence of the Syrian state's flag and emblem".

In the meeting held in Russia's Sochi on Tuesday on the sidelines of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, the two sides held talks on the process of the congress and the future plans of the United Nations envoy for the Arab country.

The Assad regime, which is backed by Russian air power in its nearly seven-year-long war with opposition fighters, says it only targets militants and has repeatedly denied striking civilian facilities such as hospitals.

The main opposition bloc - the Syrian Negotiation Commission (SNC) - accused Assad and Russia, Syria's principal ally, of continuing to use military might and showing no interest in entering into honest negotiations. "The UN-led Geneva process will agree on the proposals the special envoy will make on the mandate, terms of reference, powers, rules of procedure and selection criteria for the composition of the constitutional committee in Geneva".

Putin has been trying to steal the show from Kazakhstan's ageing president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who organised an earlier Russia-sponsored round of talks on Syria in the Kazakh capital Astana.

Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012 when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without a fight.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to step up efforts to form "observation posts" in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency quoted presidential sources as saying on January 31.

Turkey and Russian Federation each want to withdraw from the fighting in Syria.

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