Ahrar Ash-Sham Military Group May Take Part in Astana Talks on Syria - Official

© Sputnik / Mikhail Voskresenskiy / Go to the mediabankCities of the world. Astana
Cities of the world. Astana - Sputnik International
Representatives of Ahrar ash-Sham military group are likely to be part of the Syrian opposition delegation for the new round of talks on Syria due to take place in the Kazakh capital later in the week, Free Syrian Army general Bashar Zoubi told Sputnik Monday.

Participants in a meeting of the Joint Operational Group of Russia, Turkey and Iran to control the ceasefire in Syria, held in Astana - Sputnik International
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ASTANA (Sputnik) — Presence of Ahrar ash-Sham would be a significant change in the course of the talks, as they never participated in Astana process previously, and have a major influence on the ground.

"Yes, Ahrar ash-Sham are participants," Zoubi told Sputnik, asked whether representatives of the armed group are going to arrive to Astana for the talks.

Yahya Aridi, an adviser to the Syrian opposition's High Negotiations Committee (HNC), also confirmed to Sputnik that Ahrar ash-Sham will be represented this time in Astana.

A view of Astana's Rixos President Hotel, the place that will host Syria peace talks, in Astana, on January 22, 2017 - Sputnik International
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On Wednesday and Thursday, Astana is hosting the new round of talks between Damascus and the Syrian opposition, with participation of the delegations from Syria ceasefire guarantor states — Russia, Iran and Turkey, as well as the United Nations.

Expert consultations will take place in Astana on Tuesday.

Ahrar ash-Sham is one of the largest Syrian armed opposition groups that until 2014 sided with Daesh, a terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries. In December 2016, Ahrar ash-Sham became one of the opposition groups that agreed to join the Syrian nationwide ceasefire between the government and opposition factions. The group decided not to participate in the Astana talks but supported the negotiations.

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