Iran, Russia, Turkey to deploy personnel in Syria to monitor de-escalation zones 

June 23, 2017

TEHRAN - Iranian, Russian and Turkish personnel will be deployed in parts of Syria as part of a de-escalation agreement brokered by Russia last month, Turkish broadcasters quoted President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman as saying on Thursday.

Russian and Iranian troops will be deployed around Damascus and Turkish and Russian personnel in Syria's northern Idlib region. 

Ibrahim Kalin said the de-escalation zones, agreed by Turkey, Russia and Iran, would be further discussed during talks in the Kazakh capital Astana in early July, Haberturk television channel said.

"We will probably be most prominent in the Idlib region with the Russians; mostly Russia and Iran around Damascus, and a mechanism involving the Americans and Jordan in the south in the Deraa region is being worked on," Kalin was quoted as saying.

Vladimir Shamanov, head of the Russian Duma defense committee, told RIA news agency Moscow was discussing proposals to send Kazakh and Kyrgyz troops to Syria with representatives of those countries.

"The negotiation process has begun, there is no decision yet," he was quoted as saying
On May 4.

Russia, Iran and Turkey signed a document during the fourth round of the Syria talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, to form four “de-escalation zones” in Syria.  

The most significant achievement of a three-pronged diplomatic effort since the beginning of 2017 to reduce bloodshed in a war now in its seventh year, the deal brought together three of consequential actors in the conflict from opposite sides. 

Russia and Iran back the Syrian government while Turkey supports some of the armed insurgent groups that seek to topple the government.

The top United Nations envoy dealing with Syria, Staffan de Mistura, hailed the memorandum, which took force on May 6, as an “important, promising, positive step in the right direction.”

The agreement, which is to last initially for six months, calls for a pause in fighting, including government airstrikes, and for unhindered aid deliveries in and around the four main zones still held by rebels unaffiliated with the Islamic State. 

The pact, however, does not apply to militants associated with the Islamic State or a Qaeda-linked group commonly known as the Nusra Front, which were designated as terrorist and hence, left out of the Astana talks. 

The de-escalation zones, envisioned as places where displaced Syrian civilians could voluntarily return and settle, include the northern province of Idlib, the central province of Homs, the East Ghouta region outside Damascus, and southern Syria along the Jordanian border.

Neither the Syrian government nor the rebels signed the document although the Syrian government voiced its support for it. Rebel groups objected, arguing it left too many loopholes for the Syrian military to continue what they called indiscriminate bombings of civilian areas.

AK/PA 

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