Kazakhstan to Host New Round of Syria Talks
Kazakhstani Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi announced on Friday that the Central Asian state would host a new round of peace talks aimed at ending Syria’s civil war. The talks will take place December 10-12 under the auspices of Russia, Turkey and Iran, which have overseen previous sessions in the Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan (called Astana until this past March). Other rounds of talks have taken place in Geneva and Sochi, Russia, and have been held under the auspices of the United Nations and the Arab League. Syria’s civil war, which began in 2011, has already claimed at least 400,000 lives and led to mass migrations, mostly northward to Turkey, which currently hosts an estimated 3.6 million Syrians, over 40 percent of them children. A new study by Britain’s Royal Institute for International Affairs found that the war has led to an average decline of 42% in the country’s standard of living, with the main author telling The Media Line that it has set Syria back 50 years in terms of overall development.