Middle East

Syrian rebels to attend extended talks in Astana: Kazakh official

Kazakhstan says peace talks in the capital, Astana, over ending the fighting in Syria have been extended and will be attended by representatives of Syrian rebel forces.

"We expect the arrival of representatives from the Northern and Southern fronts of the armed Syrian opposition," Foreign Ministry spokesman Onuar Zhainakov said Wednesday, according to Russia's Interfax news agency.

Syrian rebels had previously boycotted this third summit in Astana, citing the government's continued bombardment of opposition-held areas in Homs and Damascus.

A government delegation led by Syria's UN ambassador, Bashar al-Jaafari, began meetings Tuesday with Russian officials in Astana.

Talks in Astana are running parallel to political talks in Geneva between the government and the opposition. The Astana talks are centered on cease-fire and humanitarian efforts, but have brought few results.

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