Astana-6 Talks on Syria Kick Off With Guarantor States' Working Group Meeting

ASTANA- The sixth round of talks on Syria in Astana kicked off on Wednesday with meetings of the Working Group of ceasefire guarantor states, Russia, Turkey and Iran,  Sputnik reported on Wednesday.

The Working Group is made up of experts from the three states. In the morning, bilateral meetings in a closed format took place. In the afternoon, experts from the UN team were expected to join the technical discussions.

Expert consultations will be succeeded by high-level meetings on Thursday and Friday, according to Sputnik.

 The sixth round of Astana talks on the Syrian settlement is expected to be successful, with a whole package of documents signed, including an agreement on the de-escalation zone in Idlib, a source close to the talks told Sputnik Wednesday.

"This Astana meeting is widely expected to be a huge success, to finalize the whole Astana process since January. A lot of work has been done at the expert level and the highest political level, to reach a final agreement on the whole package of documents, on all de-escalation zones, including the one in Idlib, on their borders, monitoring etc. There are all the prerequisites for it," the source said.

According to the source, if this round is a success and all agreements are reached, "then you only need a political agreement as the next step."

According to Tass reported that the sixth international meeting on the settlement in Syria will be held in Astana on September 14-15. The sides plan to consider a number of documents regulating the activities of the de-escalation control forces in Syria and continue work on coordinating the composition of the control forces in Idlib. The parties are to adopt a joint statement on demining historical monuments in Syria that have been declared UNESCO World Heritage sites and discuss other issues of mutual interest.