UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, said on Tuesday he would “urge” parties of Astana Peace Talks to focus on the political process and protect civilians, calling for restraint and respecting Syria’s sovereignty.
Pedersen made his words in a tweet hours before the Astana Peace Talks meeting.
Round 19 of the Astana talks began on Tuesday in the Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan. It is scheduled to be held on the 22nd and 23rd of November.
Pedersen stressed he would engage with all parties of the Astana talks, urging them all to contain the situation in Syria, protect civilians, preserve de-escalation and focus on the political process.
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He also called for all parties to show restraint and “maintain various ceasefires agreed, & respect Syria’s sovereignty & territorial integrity.”
Round 19 will be attended by the guarantor states [Russia, Turkey, Iran], the Syrian delegation, the opposition delegation, and representatives of the office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria.
State-run SANA News Agency said the Syrian delegation is headed by Ayman Sousan, Assistant Foreign and Expatriates Minister.
On November 14th, Kazakh Foreign Ministry said Astana 19 on Syria would discuss developments on the ground and the “international community’s mobilization of efforts in line with UN Security Council resolutions” and issues related to humanitarian and socioeconomic fields.
Turkish military operation Turkey launching in Syria is likely to top this round of Astana talks, according to Pedersen.
On November 20th, the cities of Kobani, Derik (al-Malikiyah), and the northern countryside of Aleppo, in addition to other areas on the Syrian-Turkish border, were targeted by Turkish warplanes, killing 13 people, including civilians and fighters of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), according to a statement released by the SDF.
The Turkish airstrikes also targeted posts of the Syrian government forces, killing 13 soldiers and wounding seven others.
Turkish forces and their affiliated armed Syrian opposition factions, also known as Syrian National Army (SNA), continue immensely targeting areas in north and northeast Syria with artillery shells, drones and airstrikes.
The 18th round of Astana Peace Talks, which was held in the Kazakh capital on June 15-16, was attended by representatives of the Syrian government and opposition in addition to a UN delegation led by Robert Dunn, Chief Political Affairs Officer of the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, a delegation from Jordan, representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The Astana peace process to end the conflict in Syria was launched in January 2017 at the initiative of Turkey, Russia and Iran.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.