A general view taken on December 21, 2017 shows Astana's Rixos President Hotel, the venue for Syria peace talks. AFP / Alexey FILIPPOV
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A new round of Syria peace talks backed by powerbrokers Russia, Iran and Turkey kicked off in Kazakhstan's capital Astana Thursday, the Central Asian country's foreign ministry said.Delegations from Russia, Iran and Turkey along with Syrian regime representatives and a 20-strong opposition delegation had all arrived in Astana for two days of talks, a ministry spokesman said.The eighth round of talks come after Russian leader Vladimir Putin ordered a partial withdrawal of Russian forces during a surprise visit to the war-torn country last week.A fragile ceasefire brokered at the end of last year by Moscow and rebel-aligned Ankara has been bolstered somewhat by the negotiations in Astana, which began in January and have continued in parallel to fruitless UN-led talks in Geneva.
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