Europe

The Latest: Syria talks focused on truce begin in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan's officials prepare working space for delegations at a hotel lobby where Russia, Iran and Turkey will hold talks on Syrian peace, in Astana, Kazakhstan, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. The talks are the latest attempt to forge a political settlement to end a war that has by most estimates killed more than 400,000 people since March 2011 and displaced more than half the country's population. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

Kazakhstan's officials prepare working space for delegations at a hotel lobby where Russia, Iran and Turkey will hold talks on Syrian peace, in Astana, Kazakhstan, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. The talks are the latest attempt to forge a political settlement to end a war that has by most estimates killed more than 400,000 people since March 2011 and displaced more than half the country's population. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)  (The Associated Press)

The Latest on Syria peace talks that are being held in Kazakhstan and developments on the ground in the war-torn country (all times local):

10:10 a.m.

Russia- and Turkey-backed talks between Syrian rebel factions and government representatives have opened in Kazakhstan.

The talks are the first between the two warring sides in a year and mark the first face-to-face meeting between government representatives and a delegation heavily made up of rebels.

Representatives of Syria's rebel factions sat on one side of a room at the luxury Rixos Hotel in the capital of Astana, while government delegates sat on the other side.

The talks are expected to focus on consolidating a shaky cease-fire that has been in place since Dec. 30.

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9:30 a.m.

Talks between Syrian rebel factions and the government they are trying to overthrow are set to begin in Kazakhstan.

Monday's meeting will be the first between Syria's warring sides in a year and is expected to focus on consolidating a shaky cease-fire that has been in place since Dec. 30.

The talks are sponsored by Russia, Turkey and Iran whose representatives in the Kazakh capital of Astana have held meetings with delegates from both sides late into the evening Sunday and early on Monday.

The opposition delegation, which arrived in Astana on Sunday, is made up of about a dozen rebel figures led by Mohammad Alloush of the powerful Army of Islam rebel group.

The Syrian government has sent its U.N. ambassador, Bashar Ja'afari, and military delegates.