Russia, Iran, and Turkey Meet, Agree to Push Syria Peace Talks

Nations Seek Broad Ceasefire, Not Regime Change

by Jason Ditz, December 20, 2016

The Foreign Ministers of Russia, Iran, and Turkey met today in Moscow for high-profile talks on ending the Syrian Civil War, with the three nations seeking to negotiate a ceasefire that would cover much of the country, and for which they would be the guarantors.

The United States was conspicuously absent from the talks, a big change from the previous efforts on Syria, which were almost exclusively bilateral talks between US and Russian officials, and which usually ended with the US angrily condemning Russia for something or other.

Instead, Turkey is taking America’s place as the pro-rebel faction in the talks, and they may well prove more influential because of their heavy direct military involvement in northern Syria, with a coalition of rebel allies. Perhaps most importantly, Turkey isn’t demanding immediate regime change as a precondition.

While the US pushing for regime change tended to derail efforts to get peace talks started, it’s not clear how well the Turkey-backed rebels will take the efforts to get peace talks without those per-conditions, or if they’ll agree to participate at all.

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