Jaafari: Turkey, opposition aim to undermine Syria peace settlement

Syria: Assad regime loses the diplomacy battle in Astana

Syria peace settlement held in Kazakhstan’s Astana concluded without a final statement, while the head of the regime’s delegation blamed the opposition and Turkey accusing them of seeking to undermine the talks.

Russia said it has a new plan for Syria peace talks which can be achieved with powers that have a real effect on the Syrian ground after its forces backed Assad regime to achieve many victories against the opposition and tilted the tide of war in his favor.

Russia, Iran, and Turkey said they were ready to help broker a Syria peace deal, and organized peace talks meeting in Kazakhstan on January 23.

The first day of the talks was focused on ways to strengthen the ceasefire. It ended with tension as both parts traded blames over truce breaches. In addition, the opposition refused to have direct negotiations with Assad regime.

The talks have ended with Russia, Turkey, and Iran making a joint statement about the consequences of the talks and agreeing on a mechanism to support a delicate ceasefire and to support a new round of peace talks in Geneva.

Another meeting was agreed on to discuss further the proposed document and implementing the ceasefire and will take place on February 15-16. However, the Syrian rebels refused at first to take part in this round, and agreed later to come on February 16.

No final statement

The second round of Astana talks was held in Kazakhstan’s capital on February 15-16. On Wednesday, Russian, Iranian, Jordanian and Syrian delegations held a number of technical meetings.

Head of the opposition’s delegation, Muhammad Alloush, said that the opposition did not enter the meeting room before obtaining guarantees from Russia to halt bombardment on the areas under its control in Syria.

However, the meeting ended without a final statement because the opposition refused to sign it.

The Opposition refused to discuss any other issues such as the constitution, holding elections or any other political issues, Alloush pointed out adding that “negotiations about ceasefire mechanisms will be taken to Ankara,” without specifying any date or giving further details.

In addition, Osama Abu Zeid, the consultant of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Syria peace talks in Astana said that the negotiations witness difficulties and differences between the guarantor countries, which casts shadows over the meeting.

At the end of the meeting, Russian ministry of foreign affairs declared that a number of issues have been agreed upon to de-escalate the situation in Syria, including creating a strict mechanism to monitor the ceasefire by forming a trilateral Russian, Turkish and Iranian committee.

“They aim to disrupt the talks”

The head of Syria’s government delegation, Bashar Ja’afari, accused Turkey’s delegation and Syrian rebels of trying to disrupt the negotiations by refusing to agree to a communique.

Bashar Ja’afari said the rebels and their Turkish backers had a “clear will to disrupt the Astana meetings”, and that Ankara must pull its troops out of Syria and close its border to jihadist fighters if it was to be a real guarantor of a Turkish-Russian ceasefire agreed at the end of last year.

“No final communique was issued because of Turkish opposition to a draft statement,” Ja’afari said.

The arrival of a downgraded Turkish delegation with the rebels on the last day of the talks in the Kazakh capital also signaled that they were not serious about the talks, he said.

“The delegation came with a low representation that does not rise up to what Turkey claims as a guarantor … and so the Turkish role prompts many question marks over it,” he said.

Ja’afari said Turkey must take decisive steps to stop foreign jihadists entering Syrian and end its violation of Syrian sovereignty by pulling its troops out if the ceasefire was to take hold on the ground.

The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.