Astana 7 Struggles to Make Headway on Release of Detainees

Assad regime delegates resist push for agreement on the release of captives on final day of negotiations in the Kazakh capital, Alsouria Net reports

Russia, Iran and Turkey continued their technical-level discussions in Astana on Tuesday around the issue of releasing prisoners in Syria, a topic which has gained strong momentum in the current talks.

Turkey, a guarantor country, is facing pressure from the opposition to push for the release of prisoners, while there are still items within the issue which have not witnessed any progress amid the continued rigidness of the Assad regime’s position and its obstruction of raising this topic.

The dispute, according to the Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, which cited unnamed sources, is around whether only the release of prisoners will occur or also those who have been sentenced by the Assad regime. Determining which entity will oversee the release of prisoners is also another point of dispute around this issue.

The opposition is asking for the International Red Cross to oversee the release of prisoners, while the regime is insistent on the Syrian Red Crescent being responsible for the operation, which the opposition rejects.

On Tuesday morning, a Syrian opposition delegation participating in the conference met with the Kazakh Foreign Minister Khairat Abdel Rahmanov, calling for his country to put stronger pressure on the issue of detainees.

The Kazakh president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has previously met with delegations from the three guarantor countries, according to a press statement by the head of the Russian delegation, Alexander Lavrentiev, to Russian media.

Yesterday the conference opened with meetings between delegations from guarantor countries Russia, Iran and Turkey, through bilateral and multilateral meetings, while the opposition met in its place of residence with U.N. delegates, Jordan and France for discussions.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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