The Astana talks were an opportunity for Syrian rebel groups to lead negotiations focused solely on implementing the ceasefire. Previous rounds of peace talks have failed due to the clear lack of commitment by Bashar al-Assad and his backers to a sustainable ceasefire, unimpeded humanitarian access, and a solution to the plight of detainees.
While the position of the regime has not changed, the political and armed opposition are prepared to negotiate an end to the bloodshed and a genuine political solution. The Free Syrian Army (FSA) agreed to participate in Astana on the basis of Turkey's role as a guarantor, and to test Russia's readiness to apply real pressure on the Assad regime and Iran to commit to a sustainable ceasefire. We are yet to see any clear sign that either is prepared to negotiate in good faith.