By Mustafa Melih Ahishali
A joint technical meeting was held Tuesday -- including Turkish, Russian and Iranian representatives -- in advance of a sixth round of Syria talks to be held in Kazakh capital Astana, according to diplomatic sources.
Tuesday’s meeting was held at the International Studies Center in the Iranian Interior Ministry building in Tehran.
The meeting, which is expected to continue on Wednesday, tackled several issues related to the Syria conflict, including a recently established network of “de-escalation zones” in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
After a landmark ceasefire agreement was reached late last year, a first round of peace talks was held in Astana in January.
At a subsequent round of talks in May, three guarantor states -- Turkey, Russia and Iran -- agreed to establish a series of de-escalation zones throughout war-torn Syria.
Syria has remained locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
While the UN says hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the six-year conflict, Assad regime officials say the number is likely closer to 10,000.