Russia Says May Host Talks To Reform Syria's Constitution Next Month

Astana hosting falconry competitions

Russia's military campaign objectives "have been nearly accomplished", according to an influential lawmaker.

Vladimir Shamanov, who sits as chairman of Russian parliament's defense committee, told a meeting at the Kazakh parliament that the "major tasks" of Moscow's military campaign in Syria "have been nearly accomplished", according to Russia's state-run news agency TASS.

As the seventh round of Russia-initiated Astana peace talks to end the Syrian war kicked off on Monday, President Vladimir Putin's Syria envoy Alexander Lavrentyev said a "more active" involvement of the Kurds in a political solution was an "issue".

"This matter is still being discussed", Aleksandr Lavrentyev told reporters after the first day of Syrian peace negotiations that reconvened in Astana, Kazakhstan, on October 30.

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The talks are aimed at finalising a plan for four so-called "de-escalation zones" across eight of Syria's 14 provinces.

In a statement on Monday, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said some 106,727 people have been held since March 2011. The diplomat, who heads Russia's delegation at the Astana talks, last week visited Damascus. The meeting was organised by Russian Federation and Iran, who support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, and Turkey, which backs the opposition.

However, since then, the civil war has turned into a multi-pronged conflict involving global powers, neighboring countries and non-state actors, including the US, Saudi Arabia and al-Qaeda-affiliated groups.

The Russian envoy's comments are likely to raise eyebrows in Turkey whose President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to erase the Kurdish-led de facto autonomy in northern Syria, alleging it is a "terror corridor" alongside his country's southern frontier.

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