There have been several attempts to broker a ceasefire in the Syrian Civil War in the year 2016, with two out of three ceasefires already collapsing. The first partial ceasefire began in February and ended in July, followed by a second ceasefire attempt which, began and ended in the month of September. Both of these ceasefires suffered significant setbacks resulting in violations of the ceasefire agreements.
Despite these past failed attempts at successful ceasefire negotiations in Syria, the ceasefire talks continue to prevail among the nations of Russia, Turkey, and Iran. This continued effort signifies the beginning of a diplomatic enterprise set to put an end to approximately six years of war in Syria which left the nation in ruins with nearly half a million killed and half the population displaced.
The most recent, and third round of ceasefire talks were held on 28 December 2016 between Turkey and Russia in Astana, Kazakhstan. The two nations were able to agree on a nationwide ceasefire that several rebel groups such as Sham Legion, Ahrar al-Sham, and the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces signed, declaring that they would abide by the truce. Unfortunately, before the actual implementation of the ceasefire could take place, several violations delayed the agreement with the combatants accusing each other of the ensuing hostilities.
Thus, in the early months of 2017, representatives from Russia, Turkey, and Iran have participated in a technical meeting in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, in order to discuss the details of the Syrian ceasefire and to prolong the fragile truce. Recent talks are aimed at creating a trilateral mechanism against rifts caused in the ceasefire that was established in late December, in the hopes of paving the way towards UN-led peace talks in February. A ministry spokesman emphasized how the recent meeting is about “creating a mechanism to control the implementation of the ceasefire.”
Following the talks, a Russian negotiator and senior military official remarked on how the different parties involved had discussed how to prevent provocations and guarantee humanitarian access. “The delegations have confirmed their readiness to continue interaction in order to achieve the full implementation of the cessation of hostilities in Syria.” The next meeting will include representatives from Jordan whom will partake in the ongoing review of the ceasefire and the discussion of a proposal submitted by the Syrian armed opposition about the current truce.