Fourth round of Syria peace talks opens in Astana

The fourth round of talks between the Assad regime and Syrian opposition groups opened in the Kazakh capital Wednesday under the sponsorship of Russia, Turkey and Iran. Mohammad Aloush, leader of the Jaish al-Islam rebel group, which boycotted earlier rounds, arrived. He agrees to talk with the Syrian government’s top negotiator Bashar al-Jaafari.  Also present are the UN’s special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, and, for the first time, a US official, Stuart Jones, acting assistant Secretary of State, who attends as an observer. The US was represented by its ambassador to Astana in previous rounds.

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