TEHRAN (Press Shia) – As a new round of Syria peace negotiations began in Astana on Thursday, diplomatic delegation from Iran, Russia, Turkey and Syria have held several rounds of meetings to finalize a number of outstanding issues for peace in Syria and pave the way for a congress on national dialogue.

Following separate meetings with Russian, Syrian, and Turkish delegations in the 8th round of Syria peace negotiations in the Kazakh city of Astana, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari attended a trilateral meeting with his Russian and Turkish counterparts on Thursday evening.

Iran, Russia and Turkey are known as the guarantors of a ceasefire in Syria.

One of the main purposes of the ongoing round of Astana talks is to prepare the ground for a congress for Syrian-Syrian talks about the future of the Arab country in the post-Daesh era.

The decision to hold the Syria national congress was made in a summit of Iranian, Russian and Turkish leaders in Sochi back in November.

The parties in Astana are also working to finalize two outstanding documents on the exchange of detainees, abductees, and the bodies of those killed from the warring sides in Syria, and also on demining Syria’s protected cultural heritage sites.

The 7th round of Syria peace talks brokered by Iran, Russia, and Turkey was held in Astana on October 30.

The fourth round of those talks in May produced a memorandum of understanding on de-escalation zones in Syria, sharply reducing fighting in the country.

During the sixth round of Astana talks in September, Iran, Russia and Turkey agreed on a deal to establish and patrol a de-escalation zone in Syria’s northern Idlib province. In early October, Turkey deployed tanks and military vehicles on its Syrian border, building up military presence in Idlib.

Diplomatic efforts to end fighting in Syria gained momentum in 2017 with the announcement of a ceasefire in the Arab country in early January.

According to a report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.