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ASTANA Talks brockered by Russia, Iran and Turkey aimed at ending the six-year Syria conflict began today. Turkey is mediating on behalf of the rebels who have suffered losses on the battlefield that has become Syria – including east Aleppo. Whether of course the rebels want to negotiate a surrender is of course another matter. The USA who has backed the rebels is not present in Kazakhstan. Syria is backed by Iran and Russia whose entry into the conflict along with Hezbollah has decisively turned the conflict in favour of the regime of President Bashar Al Assad.