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Syria opposition willing to extend Astana talks

The opposition is skeptical about the completion of the final ceasefire documents that will put an end to the 6-year crisis in Syria.

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The Syrian opposition groups are willing to walk another mile at Astana talks in their bid to end the years of civil unrest in Syria. While the two-day negotiation could end today, January 24, the opposition delegation expressed readiness to extend for another day to finalize the mechanism in achieving peace in Syria.

The opposition is skeptical about the completion of the final ceasefire documents that will put an end to the 6-year crisis in Syria. The group pointed out that they are yet to see the documents that enumerate the details of the ceasefire agreement.

“If the countries-guarantors say that they need more time, one more day, we will agree. We have not come here for just two days, we have a goal that needs to be reached,” said Osama Abu Zeid, spokesman for the opposition delegation.

Zeid pointed out that while the talks on the items of the draft agreement were already discussed, the opposition groups need to discuss it among themselves. It may be noted that the opposition delegation was composed of 15 representatives from 15 opposition factions in Syria.

“We do not comment on a draft document, we are waiting for a text of the official final statement. We have not received any draft. There is a lot of talk about this draft, but it was not handed over to us, the rebels, and we are not discussing it,” he added.

Aside from the challenge of formulating an agreement that will be acceptable to the multi-faction rebel groups, the Astana talks have to hurdle many tough issues, including allegations of violations from both sides that have accrued over the years of conflict in Syria.

The talks are scheduled to wrap up at today (0700 GMT) with the highly anticipated ceasefire accord to settle the Syrian crisis. But the opposition has not ruled out the possibility of extending for another day. The progress of the talks between the Syrian government and the opposition – initiated by Russia, Turkey, and Iran – is a positive signal toward finding a final resolution in the Syrian conflict that displaced millions of people and killed nearly 500,000.

Written by Jun Pasaylo

Jun is multimedia journalist from the Philippines. He has wide array of experience in war reporting in Southeast Asia. His proficiency in journalism was anchored in his years of experience as field reporter in conflict areas.

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