Syrians walk down a destroyed street in Aleppo's old city on January 19, 2017, a month after government forces retook the northern Syrian city from rebel fighters. / AFP / George OURFALIAN
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The talks, sponsored by regime allies Russia and Iran and rebel backer Turkey, will begin Monday in Astana and are expected to last less than a week.U.N. officials have expressed hope the Astana talks may provide a base for U.N.-sponsored negotiations on Syria that are due to resume in Geneva on Feb. 8 .Earlier this week, rebel groups announced their delegation to Astana would comprise eight rebel figures, led by Mohammad Alloush of the Army of Islam faction. Rebel groups and government figures Thursday reached a new truce deal for Wadi Barada, a local official told AFP, hours after Syrian troops and allied militia surrounded Wadi Barada, where around 20,000 live, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.A woman led the protesters in a pledge to preserve Syria and protect it against rebels and their foreign backers.The militants recaptured the ancient town in December from government troops – nine months after Daesh was expelled in a Russia-backed offensive.
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