Syria talks: Turkey blocking Astana progress, says envoy

The head of the Syrian government’s envoy to the peace talks in Astana, Bashar Jaafari, said that Turkey failed to secure the participation of the armed Syrian opposition to the talks and was blocking any progress in the process.

The Syrian opposition had blamed continuing airstrikes by both Russia and the Syrian government for its decision not to participate in this round of talks.

But Jaafari said that as a guarantor country it was Turkey’s responsibility to ensure their participation. “As you saw, the Astana-III meetings were conducted without the delegation of the armed terrorist groups. Guarantor country Turkey is blocking the Astana progress,” Jaafari added.

The head of the Russian delegation in Astana, Alexander Lavrentiev, said after the meetings that they had asked the armed Syrian opposition to inform them of the positions of fighters from Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, previously known as the al-Nusra Front.

Iran is also now a guarantor country for the Syria peace talks in Kazakhstan’s capital. However, the relative optimism surrounding the first and second round of talks in Astana has largely faded in the last couple of days with the armed Syrian opposition, naturally a significant component of any prospective peace accord, absent from the talks.