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United States invited to Astana talks, Russian FM Lavrov says

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Yuri Mashkov  ITAR-TASS

Ahmad al-Othman from the Sultan Murad faction also told AFP that "the rebel groups have chose to go to the talks".

The ceasefire excludes areas where the Islamic State operates.

Russia, Iran and Turkey had told a weekly humanitarian meeting in Geneva that they would push all sides, including Syria's government, to stop preventing humanitarian aid from getting through, he added.

In another development on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that Moscow had invited the United States to attend the Syria peace talks.

"The goal of all of our friends is to restore peace and stability to Syria, so its people can freely decide the future of their country", Rouhani said in a meeting with visiting Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis on Wednesday, IRNA reported.

"Mohammed Alloush [opposition delegation head] will discuss the withdrawal of Jaysh al-Islam from the region of the capital, reciprocal withdrawals to increase the distance between fighters, withdrawal of Hezbollah and Iranian regiments [from Syria],"the source said".

¬ďAll the rebel groups are going.

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This mean that foreign powers that wage a proxy war in Syria - Russia and Iran - need to exert effort to rein in both the armed forces that support the Damascus regime and their allies, including the Iranian militias and those belonging to Hizbollah.

Russian Federation and Iran, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's most powerful allies, and Turkey, pushed for the talks in Astana after Syrian government forces won a major victory in capturing eastern Aleppo late a year ago.

The United Nations also received an invitation to attend.

Due to Iran's opposition to United States participation in Astana meeting, Shamkhani underlined no joint invitation has been sent by the three countries to United States to attend the meeting.

More than 300,000 people have been killed and 11 million others displaced in nearly six years of conflict, which began with anti-government protests before escalating into a full-scale civil war.

Syria talks are set to kickoff next week and Russian Federation wants officials from the incoming Trump administration to attend the meeting in Kazakhstan.

President Bashar al-Assad has been quoted as telling French politicians that he is "optimistic" about next week's meeting and is "ready for reconciliation with [the rebels] on the condition that they lay down their arms".

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