Syria: Iran against US Participation in Syrian Peace Talks

Russia considers it right to invite the representatives of the United Nations and the new U.S. administration to the upcoming Syria talks in Astana on January 23 and hopes Washington will accept the invitation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at an annual press conference on January 17, reports TASS.

Some of the armed Syrian opposition groups have chose to attend peace talks with the government next week in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, according to rebel officials.

On future Iranian presidential election in May 207, Zarif believed Iranians had the chance of deciding for their own future; however, "apart from the election results, Iran's foreign policy will continue; for its highly strategic situation in the region, Iran had been working to secure stability to the Middle East at large; we also believe worldwide sanctions had been ineffectual in bending Iran's national resolve which defeated global sanctions regime", he concluded.

On Jan. 14, the main Syrian opposition umbrella group which participated in previous peace talks in Geneva, the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), stated their "readiness to support the military delegation to be established by the opposition to attend the talks" in the Kazakh capital.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced earlier that the peace talks will start on 23 January in Astana.

Ahmad al-Othman from the Sultan Murad faction also confirmed that rebel groups would attend the talks.

After the meeting of rebels in Turkey yesterday, Alloush said they are going to Astana for talks.

Mr. Zarif was speaking about a wide range of issues including Syrian crisis and Astana meeting later in January.

It is interesting, however, that Iran was ultimately unable to block the U.S. invite, as Turkey was able to successfully block not only the Kurdish YPG, but materially all Kurds in Syria from taking part in the talks.

Although Iran is one of the three sponsors of the peace talks, it has not signed the agreement reached between Russian Federation and Turkey that launched the cease-fire, suggesting that Tehran has reservations about an effort that could potentially erode its extensive influence in Syria.

Washington has not been involved in the latest diplomacy around the conflict. "It is what we exactly do, we help the Syrian army and the militia, which together with the Syrian army are involved in the fight against terrorism", Lavrov said at a press conference, referring to the aid provided by Russian Federation to the Syrian army and the opposition allied to her.

Regime warplanes carried out airstrikes on the town of Saraqeb and villages in the eastern countryside of Idlib, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group that gathers information from a network of activists inside Syria.

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