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Syrian Rebel Delegation Will Not Attend Kazakhstan Talks


Rebel fighters stand with their weapons on the outskirts of the northern Syrian town of al-Bab, Syria, Feb. 8, 2017.

Syrian rebels cast doubt on Monday over whether they would attend Russian-backed talks in Kazakhstan this week, accusing Moscow of failing to get the
Damascus government to fully comply with a ceasefire agreement
or to implement goodwill gestures such as a prisoner release.

The Kazakh government said on Saturday it had invited Syrian government and rebel delegations to a meeting on Feb. 15-16. The sides attended a similar, indirect meeting in the Kazakh capital Astana last month.

Mohammad Al Aboud, a senior rebel official, said the delegation would not attend. "There were violations in the cease-fire and the Russians did not live up to their promises to halt these violations," Al Aboud told Reuters.

A second rebel official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said at most a handful of rebels might attend, but only if progress was seen in the next two days. "The (whole) delegation will not go," he said.

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