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New Astana meeting on Syria to focus on separating opposition from Jabhat al-Nusra

At the upcoming Astana meeting, the Joint Operational Group will focus on issues related to the separation of the moderate Syrian opposition from Jabhat al-Nusra, a source in the Russian defense ministry told reporters on Thursday.

"On February 6, the first meeting of the Joint Operational Group, set up in accordance with the decisions made at the international meeting on settling the Syrian crisis on January 23-24, will take place in Kazakhstan's capital of Astana. Russian, Iranian and Turkish experts will participate in the meeting," the defense ministry added.

"The meeting is aimed at assessing the implementation of the ceasefire agreements, drawing up measures to monitor the ceasefire and prevent its violations, as well as enhancing mutual trust between the Syrian government and the opposition, and also solving humanitarian issues," the ministry elaborated.

"The meeting's participants will pay special attention to issues related to the separation of the moderate Syrian opposition from Jabhat al-Nusra which is considered to be a priority task by all the countries guaranteeing the ceasefire in Syria," the source added.

The decisions made at the recent Astana meeting stipulate trilateral cooperation in solving the Syrian crisis, so the Group will also discuss other pressing issues concerning the conflict.

Meetings of the Joint Operational Groups in Astana will be held on a regular basis, representatives of the Syrian government and opposition will be invited to take part in them, the Russian defense ministry said.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 02Feb17]

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