First day of 9th round of Astana talks completed

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    The first day in the ninth round of peace talks aimed at ending the conflict in Syria has ended completed in the Kazakh capital Astana on Monday.

    The latest developments in the de-escalation zone, the releases of captives and hostages were addressed by representatives of Russia, Turkey and Iran — the guarantor states that brokered a cease-fire in Syria in December 2016.

    Turkey, Russia and Iran held both bilateral and trilateral meetings during the ninth round of Syria talks at Rixos Hotel in Astana.

    According to sources that attended the meeting but wished to remain anonymous due to media restrictions said the main items on the agenda were de-escalation zones, violations to the cease-fire and the situation of those forced to migrate to northern Syria after being evacuated from East Ghouta and Homs.

    The necessary conditions to determine the release process of captives and hostages were also discussed.

    The Iranian and Russian delegations have also held meetings with Bashar Ja'afari, representative for the Bashar al-Assad regime.

    Delegations from Jordan and the United Nations have taken part in the talks as observers while the U.S. did not participate in the talks.

    The Turkish delegation is expected to hold a meeting later on Monday with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura regarding the establishment of a constitution committee.

    The Turkish delegation is chaired by the deputy undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry, Sedat Onal, while Alexander Lavrentiev, the Russian president's special envoy for Syria, leads his delegation; Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari heads the Iranian delegation.

    During the eighth round of peace talks aimed at ending the Syria conflict on December 21-22, 2017, the delegations agreed on the release of detainees and clearing mines in historical sites in the country.

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