Russian Envoy Due in Tehran for Syria Talks

Russian Envoy Due in Tehran for Syria Talks

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, is to meet visiting Russian special envoy on Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, today to discuss the latest developments in war-torn Syria. The meeting comes days ahead of the forthcoming sixth round of Astana talks scheduled for Sept. 14-15. The Astana initiative is jointly organized by Iran, Russia and Turkey and aims to settle the lingering deadly conflict in Syria. It was launched in January after the UN-brokered negotiations in Geneva broke down due to a surge in violence and has brought together representatives from the Damascus government and opposition groups five times so far. In the last Astana meeting in July, the three nations failed to finalize an agreement on creating four de-escalation zones in Syria after Ankara raised objections. Moscow and Tehran back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces, and Turkey, along with its western and regional allies, provides support to armed rebel groups seeking to end Assad's rule in a war that has been raging for the past six years.

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