Europe

Kazakh official: Syrian rebels to attend extended talks

  • FILE -- In this March 1, 2016, file photo, a Russian soldier keeps watch as local residents receive humanitarian aid in the Syrian village of Ghunaymiyah, about 15 kilometers from the Turkish border. A new report by Physicians for Human Rights accuses the Syrian government of "slow-motion slaughter" of unknown numbers of Syrians trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas by willfully denying them food and health care, which it calls a war crime. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)

    FILE -- In this March 1, 2016, file photo, a Russian soldier keeps watch as local residents receive humanitarian aid in the Syrian village of Ghunaymiyah, about 15 kilometers from the Turkish border. A new report by Physicians for Human Rights accuses the Syrian government of "slow-motion slaughter" of unknown numbers of Syrians trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas by willfully denying them food and health care, which it calls a war crime. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Geert Cappelaere, the U.N. Children's agency (UNICEF) regional director the Middle East and North Africa, watches a video clip on Syrian children during a press conference, in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, March 15, 2017.  Syrians mark the sixth anniversary of the country’s bitter civil war, which has killed more than 400,000 people and displaced millions of others. The conflict began in March 2011 as a popular uprising against President Bashar Assad’s rule but quickly descended into a full-blown civil war. The chaos allowed al-Qaida and later the Islamic State group to gain a foothold in the war-torn nation. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

    Geert Cappelaere, the U.N. Children's agency (UNICEF) regional director the Middle East and North Africa, watches a video clip on Syrian children during a press conference, in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Syrians mark the sixth anniversary of the country’s bitter civil war, which has killed more than 400,000 people and displaced millions of others. The conflict began in March 2011 as a popular uprising against President Bashar Assad’s rule but quickly descended into a full-blown civil war. The chaos allowed al-Qaida and later the Islamic State group to gain a foothold in the war-torn nation. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian security forces gather in front the main judicial building which attacked by a suicide bomber, in Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (SANA via AP)

    In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian security forces gather in front the main judicial building which attacked by a suicide bomber, in Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (SANA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Kazakhstan says peace talks in the capital, Astana, over ending the fighting in Syria have been extended and will be attended by representatives of Syrian rebel forces.

"We expect the arrival of representatives from the Northern and Southern fronts of the armed Syrian opposition," Foreign Ministry spokesman Onuar Zhainakov said Wednesday, according to Russia's Interfax news agency.

Syrian rebels had previously boycotted this third summit in Astana, citing the government's continued bombardment of opposition-held areas in Homs and Damascus.

A government delegation led by Syria's U.N. ambassador, Bashar al-Jaafari, began meetings Tuesday with Russian officials in Astana.

Talks in Astana are running parallel to political talks in Geneva between the government and the opposition. The Astana talks are centered on cease-fire and humanitarian efforts, but have brought few results.