Bashar al-Jaafari (L), Syrian chief negotiator and Ambassador of the Permanent Representative Mission of the Syria to UN New York, shakes hands with UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria Staffan de Mistura, right, prior a round of negotiation, during the Intra Syria talks, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland March 3, 2017. REUTERS/Salvatore Di Nolfi/Pool
Reuters: Russian-backed Syria talks derailed as rebels boycott
Russian-led peace talks on Syria were derailed on Tuesday as rebels backed by Turkey boycotted a third round of meetings in Kazakhstan and the Kremlin indicated there were international divisions over the process.
Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's most powerful ally, said the rebels' reasons for staying away were unconvincing and their decision came as a surprise. Describing the rebels as Turkish proxies, the Syrian government envoy said Ankara had broken "its commitments" to the Astana process.
The rebels said they would not attend the talks, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, because of what they called Russia's unwillingness to end air strikes on rebel-held areas and its failure to get the Syrian army and Iranian-backed militia to abide by a ceasefire.
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