Meeting on Syria in Astana process held in Kazakhstan's Nur Sultan

Situation on ground, counter-terrorism, latest developments in political process, humanitarian aid issues discussed in meeting.

Meeting on Syria in Astana process held in Kazakhstan's Nur Sultan

The 18th round of the international meeting on Syria in Astana format was held on June 15-16 in Nur-Sultan, the capital city of Kazakhstan.

According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, during the Astana peace talks, the situation on the ground and counter-terrorism, latest developments in the political process, and humanitarian aid issues were discussed, and a joint statement was released.

The Astana peace process was launched in January 2017 at the initiative of Türkiye, Russia, and Iran. Its meetings also contribute to the advancement of the UN-led diplomatic process in Geneva.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the parties stressed their strong commitment to Syria's political unity and territorial integrity and the leading role of the Astana process in the peaceful settlement of the Syrian issue.

They voiced their determination against the separatist agendas that pose threat to the national security of neighboring countries, including through cross-border attacks and infiltrations.

The parties also condemned the increased presence and activities of terrorist groups and their affiliates under different names in Syria. They underlined the necessity to implement all arrangements related to the north of Syria.

They said that all attempts to create illegitimate self-rule initiatives under the pretext of combating terrorism are unacceptable. They condemned the actions of countries that support terrorist entities, including illegitimate self-rule initiatives in the northeast of Syria.

“The Parties expressed grave concern with increasing hostilities and all forms of oppression by the separatist groups against civilians in the east of Euphrates, including through suppression of peaceful demonstrations, forced conscription and discriminatory practices in the field of education,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

"In this context, our determination in combatting against PKK/YPG terrorist organization as well as in taking every measure to protect our borders, to prevent attacks against our people, our security forces, and innocent Syrian civilians was emphasized," it added.

Moreover, the parties reaffirmed their commitments to achieving progress in the process of the political settlement of the Syrian conflict in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

In this context, they called for the subsequent round of the Constitutional Committee to be held with the constructive approach of the Syrian parties.

"A meeting of Working Group on the Release of Detainees/Abductees, Handover of Bodies and Identification of Missing Persons was also held on the sidelines of the Astana Meeting. Successful mutual release of some detainees on 13 June as part of the seventh project of the Working Group is welcomed. It is agreed to continue such activities and cooperation within the Working Group," it noted.

Syria has been ravaged by a civil war since early 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protesters with unexpected ferocity.

Hüseyin Demir

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