“U.S. participation, especially if an agreement is reached, would be the first indication of the enhanced U.S.-Russia cooperation…”
The invitation was made, according to an anonymous transition official speaking with the Washington Post, during a Dec. 28 phone call between Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, and Trump’s pick for national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.
The talks, which will include Turkey, Iran and representatives for both the Syrian government and opposition, are reportedly being held in Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan.
“It remains unclear which of the non-terrorist opposition groups, variously backed by the United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and others in the region, will attend the talks,” the Post writes.
Although the anonymous transition official asserted that “no decision was made” during Flynn’s phone call, Turkish media reported Friday that the United States would indeed attend.
“U.S. participation, especially if an agreement is reached, would be the first indication of the enhanced U.S.-Russia cooperation that President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Donald Trump have forecast under a Trump administration,” the Post adds.
Russia, Iran and Turkey previously met on Dec. 20 in Moscow to discuss ending the Syrian conflict and declined to invite the Obama administration.
The six-year confrontation has pitted the Assad government – allied with Iran and Russia – against the Syrian opposition, a mishmash of al-Qaeda aligned jihadists and rebels – backed by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States.
During his presidential campaign Trump repeatedly questioned the ideological leanings of alleged “moderate” rebels and called upon increased cooperation with the Russian government in the fight against ISIS.