Russia, Iran, Turkey Reach Consensus on De-escalation Zones in Syria*
Russian media reported that Moscow, Tehran and Ankara have reached an agreement on setting up de-escalation zones in Syria.
“The countries acting as guarantors of the Syrian ceasefire have reached a consensus on some memorandum provisions,” a source was quoted as saying by TASS news agency on Thursday.
“The work on the document is nearing completion.”
According to the report, the document will be signed by the plenary meeting later in the day.
The Syrian government supported the decision to set up zones to ease tensions and reiterated its commitment to the ceasefire.
According to the source, the next meeting on Syria in the Astana format can be held in a month’s time, in early June.
At the new round of Syria peace talks in Astana, Russia has proposed the establishment of four de-escalation zones in the war-ravaged country. The plan aims to break the years-long deadlock over separating extremist groups from the moderate opposition.
“As you know, the Russian Federation is making intensive efforts to promote the Syrian peace settlement and is developing various schemes to strengthen the ceasefire agreement and make this agreement more effective,” Russia’s special presidential envoy for Syria, Aleksandr Lavrentiev, said at a press briefing summarizing the first day of the peace talks in Astana.
“We believe that [the creation of de-escalation zones in Syria] can really help to move along the long-standing problem of separating the moderate Syrian opposition from terrorist organizations, primarily the Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] and Jabhat al-Nusra [the al-Nusra Front], and will help significantly reduce the level of armed confrontation between the Syrian armed opposition and government forces,” Lavrentiev said.
He lamented that the efforts undertaken by the former U.S. administration for the last one and a half years to separate the so-called moderate opposition from the ISIL and al-Nusra terrorists have brought no fruit.