The two-day meeting in also Astana discussed the release of prisoners and hostages, humanitarian action on mines and access to regions under blockade.

Members of the delegations take part in the peace talks on Syria in Astana, Kazakhstan October 31, 2017. Reuters
Members of the delegations take part in the peace talks on Syria in Astana, Kazakhstan October 31, 2017. Reuters (Reuters)

Russia, Turkey and Iran pledged in Kazakhstan on Tuesday to bring the Syrian regime and its opponents together for a "congress" to help nudge peace efforts towards a more lasting political settlement.

A joint statement released by Russia and Iran, who support the regime, and Turkey, which backs the rebels, referred to an "initiative of Russia" to hold a congress to bring Syrian regime representatives and opposition groups together.

A statement on the Russian foreign ministry website on Tuesday listed 33 Syrian organisations invited to a "Congress of Syrian National Dialogue" in the Russian city of Sochi on November 18.

The congress proposal was one of the few notable outcomes from the seventh round of talks on Syria held in the Kazakh capital Astana and widely viewed as Moscow's attempt to stamp its own imprint on a settlement for Syria.

However, representatives of the Syrian opposition in Astana immediately cast doubt on the plan.

Yahya al Aridi, an advisor for the Syrian opposition, called the suggestion "a jump in the air to another place."

Aridi, speaking to reporters, also said the reason they objected to the idea was, "This is not a choice, and it's not an issue of whether we accept to attend or not. There are definite boundaries which are claimed to have been made in the presence of the UN. But, no one can even begin to guess who will be invited to attend. We are baffled and surprised about this."

The talks that began in January have run parallel to negotiations taking place in Geneva with the backing of the United Nations.

Recent rounds of talks in the Central Asian nation have focused on ironing out the details of a Russia-led plan establishing four de-escalation zones in Syria.

The plan was first tabled in Astana in May to minimise fighting between regime forces and moderate rebel factions and improve civilians' access to aid.

But international organisations have warned that the zones are failing to curb a recent uptick in fighting that has seen the humanitarian situation in the country worsen significantly.

TRT World's Andrew Hopkins reports from Astana.

Fail to reach agreement on aid, prisoners

Parties attending the talks failed to reach an agreement on uninterrupted humanitarian access to the regions under blockade, and the exchange of captives and prisoners, according to sources who attended the meeting.  

The guarantor countries - Turkey, Russia and Iran - agreed to continue to work on the two issues, the sources said.

The multi-sided Syrian war that began with anti-government protests in March 2011 has claimed more than 330,000 lives.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies