Astana talks in Kazakhstan: key powers gather for 21st round to address Syrian peace and reconstruction

As the diplomatic stage is set, Astana prepares to host pivotal talks on Syria starting January 24th, bringing together key stakeholders in a bid to navigate the complex landscape of regional dynamics and seek avenues for peace.

The mediators of the Syrian peace process, Turkey, Russia, and Iran, will meet for two days of talks in Astana next week. The regional crisis, comprehensive solutions, and humanitarian efforts in Syria will be the main topics of discussion for delegations from Turkey, Russia, Iran, the Syrian opposition, and President Bashar Assad’s government, as well as observers from the UN, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon.

This is the 21st round of talks since the start of the Astana peace process in 2017 and aims to mobilize international support for Syria’s reconstruction under U.N. Security Council Resolution 2642.

A key factor in efforts to end the Syrian civil war, which started in 2011 and has resulted in over 300,000 deaths and nearly 7 million displaced people, has been the Astana peace process, which was started by Turkey, Russia, and Iran. Kazakhstan, which has been hosting the discussions since they began, will continue to be important, as the next summit will address the states that have requested it.

A plan for restoring relations between the Assad regime and Turkey has been discussed during the Astana negotiations, among other topics related to the Syrian conflict. The main focus has been on counterterrorism measures, denouncing illegal self-rule campaigns and aiding terrorist organizations in Syria. One of the main concerns has been the PKK and its Syrian affiliate, the YPG, and attempts have been made to counter their influence in northeastern Syria. The fact that both support for terrorist organizations and self-rule initiatives are condemned highlights how difficult it will be to restore territorial integrity in Syria’s devastated country.

The humanitarian crisis, the release of hostages, Syria’s reconstruction, and the requirements for refugee returns were among the other topics discussed at the 20th round of negotiations. The conversations highlight the complex issues that call for an all-encompassing strategy. For diplomatic efforts to navigate the complexities of the Syrian conflict and promote cooperation among important stakeholders, the Astana peace process continues to be a vital platform.

The agenda for the upcoming 21st round includes talks about how the regional crisis developed, all-encompassing solutions, and humanitarian considerations. The objective of the negotiations is to rally global backing for Syria’s reconstruction by U.N. Security Council Resolution 2642. The participation of international observers from the UN, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon highlights how important it is for the world to find long-term solutions for Syria.

As demonstrated in June 2023, the Astana peace process has been successful in uniting opposing viewpoints even in times of resistance. There have been discussions about possible future hosts and how to conclude the process, despite obstacles to the diplomatic efforts. Nonetheless, given the changing circumstances surrounding the Syrian conflict, there is still an urgent need for continued communication and cooperation.