Syria – Syrians of liberated areas voiced pessimism about resolving crisis through Astana talks


Location: Northwest Syria, Syria
Language: Arabic
Duration: 00:04:33
Voice: Natural
Source: A24 Northwest Syria
Restriction: A24 subscribers
Date: 17/06/2022


The 18th round of Astana Process talks on Syria between the Syrian regime and opposition concluded yesterday, Thursday, in the capital city of Kazakhstan, in Nur-Sultan with the participation of guarantor countries, delegations from Turkiye, Russia, and Iran. The meeting focused on the release of detainees and the return of Syrian refugees with the participation of representatives of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. A U.N. delegation led by Robert Dunn, principal political affairs officer of the special envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, and the International Committee of the Red Cross also attended the meeting. A24 News Agency conducted a survey to find out the opinions of the displaced in the areas supposed to be liberated under the previous Astana Agreement, namely the cities of Khan Sheikhoun, Maarat al-Numan, Qalaat al-Madiq, Saraqib and other villages. Interviewees said the latest Astana round is just as misleading as previous rounds that have led to further displacement. They said that the regime is trying through these talks to gain more time to recover and return to international forums. As for the issue of detainees, none of them have been released since the first round.

Shot list:

SOUNDBITE (Adnan Al-Imam-media activist):
“We as activists displaced from the areas of northern Syria, I am a displaced activist from northern Aleppo, have not seen any progress since the start of the Astana talks. On the contrary, with each round we lose a new area for Russia and Turkiye. Through this agreement, Turkiye made concessions in exchange for having areas in the east of the Euphrates. Before Astana talks, I used to live in Anadan City, but after the agreement, I was displaced. Many other people were displaced from the areas of Khan Sheikhoun, Maarat and Qalaat al-Madiq. The 18th round solved nothing. We confirm that any agreement does not lead to the overthrow of the regime and its militias, will not benefit the people of Syria.”

SOUNDBITE (Muhammad al-Amouri – displaced Kafr Zita town in the northern Hama countryside):
“We are displaced from the northern countryside of Hama, specifically from the town of Kafr Zita. When Astana talks began and Turkish observation posts were constructed in the regions of Morek and Jabal Sha’ashbu, we hoped that our area would be included as a safe zone. However, we were surprised that in each round of Astana or Sochi, we are forced to migrate to greater distances. We are confident that all parties involved in these talks aim to prolong the life of the regime. We live on borders and we are not safe. Each of Astana rounds empowers the regime, increases numbers of displaced, and we lose new areas.”

SOUNDBITE (Khaled Al-Aboud – displaced from the countryside of Idlib):
“We hope that the negotiators in Astana will return us to our towns from which we were expelled. Most importantly, we also hope they focus on the release of the detainees, who have called for their release since the first day these talks began, and none of them has been released yet.”

SOUNDBITE (Muhammad Al-Awwad – displaced from Hobait town in the southern countryside of Idlib):
“No one is counting on Astana anymore. It was quite clear that no one would return to their homes since the first round. Astana is just a play. We do not trust participants in these talks and we are desperate to benefit from it. Such talks only help the regime bounce back and return to participating in international forums.”

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