Fifth round of Syrian peace talks begins in Astana

A fifth round of talks on the conflict in Syria began in the Kazakh capital of Astana on Tuesday, focused on shoring up a plan for safe zones in the war-torn country.

The two days of meetings are set to involve a string of bilateral talks before a plenary session bringing together all the participants on Wednesday. Russian news agencies reported that a three-way meeting between the co-sponsors of the talks, Russia, Iran and Turkey, was underway, aimed at cementing four conflict-free areas which were agreed in May.

Anuar Zhainakov, press-secretary at Kazakhstan's foreign ministry, confirmed that delegates from the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and the rebel factions had arrived in Astana.

Also in attendance were the UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Minstura, Acting US Undersecretary for near East Affairs Stuart Jones, and the Jordanian Foreign Minister's adviser, Nawaf Tel Uasfi.

Source: VOV5