A peace conference hosted by Russian Federation that aims to end the conflict in Syria has agreed to set up a committee to draft a new constitution for the war-torn country.
A proposal to form a constitutional committee was agreed on Tuesday at the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in the Russian city of Sochi, organized by Ankara, Tehran, and Moscow, Anadolu Agency reports.
But expectations for the event were dramatically lowered over the weekend after the Syrian Negotiations Committee (SNC), the main opposition group, and the country's Kurdish minority said they would boycott the talks. "Here we managed to gather under the same roof delegates of the Syrian government, parliamentarians, ruling party members, external opposition members, and tribal leaders, who play a very important role in Syria's public life", Russia's top diplomat said.
The conference's opening, initially planned for Monday, was mired in confusion as a handful of opposition delegates refused to leave Sochi airport after arriving on a last-minute flight.
More than 1,000 people were invited to the event, which, unlike a separate and stuttering United Nations-backed process that hosts only the government and opposition, was meant to offer a seat at the table to Kurdish delegates. They included Syrian government representatives backed by Russian Federation and Iran, and groups opposed to President Bashar al-Assad backed by Turkey.
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"It's hard for them to announce anything of outcome because they don't have everyone here that matters, " said Neil Hauer, an independent analyst monitoring Russian activity in Syria's conflict, speaking from Sochi.
Meanwhile, representatives of Kurdish groups in Syria boycotted the Russian event because they are now under attack by Turkey.
The talks come as Russian and Syrian regime airstrikes kill dozens of civilians in Syria's rebel held Idlib province.
It added that the final agreement on the "mandate and terms of reference, powers, rules of procedure, and selection criteria for the composition" of the committee is to be reached in the UN-led Geneva process.