Russia, Turkey, Iran hold talks on Syria

Officials from Russia, Turkey and Iran are convening in Sochi, Russia for a 15th round of peace talks on Syria on Tuesday, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The two-day meeting comes after a Jan. 29 Syrian Constitutional Committee meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, which United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen said had been a “disappointment”, according to Anadolu.

Pro-Turkish government Daily Sabah newspaper said progress by the committee was obstructed by Syrian government representatives, while members of the opposition had displayed a constructive attitude.

The Sochi talks will focus on the course of the constitutional committee, which is comprised of representatives selected by the United Nations, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Syrian opposition groups. Turkey has significant influence among the opposition represented in the committee, while Syrian Kurds have been excluded.

Russia, Turkey and Iran started peace negotiations for Syria in January 2017, known as the Astana talks, named after the Kazakh capital they were held in. The last round of meetings took place in December 2019.

In a joint statement after the constitutional committee meeting last month, the trio expressed support for the committee and urged “constructive engagement without foreign interference and externally imposed timelines”.