A Free Syrian army fighter pours tea in the rebel-held town of Dael, Syria December 22, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Faqir
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Russia, Turkey and Iran agreed Friday to hold Syria peace talks in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi next month, a move that the U.N. special envoy for Syria said should be assessed based on its contribution to the mandated political process under the United Nations in Geneva.The Kremlin said that President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone Friday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the situation in Syria and the Sochi talks, adding that they voiced hope that the Sochi talks agenda will be agreed upon in Astana.The Sochi talks will open up a fourth track of talks between parties to the complex conflict in Syria. The U.N.'s own Geneva program has been supplemented by the "technical" talks in Astana brokered by Russia, Iran and Turkey.Separately, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu Friday said the military has completed the partial withdrawal from Syria ordered by President Vladimir Putin, ending over two years of active involvement in the conflict.
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