Majority of so-called Syrian opposition groups have refused to attend the Astana talks launched on Tuesday, blaming Moscow and Damascus for violating the terms of the ongoing ceasefire.

 

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“Currently the decision is not to go as a result of Russia continuing its crimes in Syria against civilians and its support of the crimes of the Syrian regime,” Reuters quoted Osama Abu Zaid, a spokesman for pro-Turkish militant groups, as saying.

 

According to Reuters, militants had informed its main supporter, Turkey, of their decision. This means that the move was coordinated with Ankara.

 

The only militant group which is expected to be invovled in the talks is Southern Front, a coalition of militant groups formed in 2014 and comprising of over 50 small factions, including the Syrian Revolutionaries Front, 18 March Division, Sham Liberation Army and others.

 

Southern Front is backed by the US, Jordan, France, Saudi Arabia and the UAE and operates in southern Syria.

 

Iran, Syria, Russia, and Turkey became the main sides of the talks with the US and the UN playing roles of observers.

 

 

 

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