Turkey, Russia, Iran Discuss Syria Safe Zones

The trio meets regularly to guarantee a ceasefire in the war-ravaged Syria The trio meets regularly to guarantee a ceasefire in the war-ravaged Syria

Turkey, Russia and Iran met in Ankara on May 18 for discussions to declare "de-escalation zones" in rebel-held areas of Syria Another round of talks will be held in Tehran  on May 21, according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Cavusoglu said during a televised interview, "There are recommendations about which soldiers should be deployed in de-escalation zones. The countries can give troops under the supervision of the UN. We want it to be under the supervision of an institution. But there are no concrete steps yet and no decision has been taken yet. Nobody will hesitate if it is under the UN roof," Hurriyet Daily News reported.

A UN resolution is necessary for imposing sanctions on parties violating the ceasefire in Syria, but there has yet to be any action in line with that, he noted.  

Ankara has urged Washington to focus on finding a political solution in Syria as much as it works on defeating the self-styled Islamic State terror group.

Russia, Turkey and Iran agreed in a memorandum signed on May 4 to establish four separate de-escalation zones in Syria for at least six months. The largest de-escalation zone includes Idlib province and the adjoining districts of Hama, Aleppo and Latakia provinces as well as regions in southern Syria and areas in north of Homs and near Damascus.

Russia, Turkey and Iran will form a joint working group on the planned zones in the coming weeks, in order to delineate the lines of the de-escalation areas and security zones, as well as to resolve other operational and technical issues related to the implementation of the deal, according to the memorandum.

The guarantors will finalize the maps of the de-escalation zones by June 4. According to the accord, checkpoints will ensure the safe flow of humanitarian aid and provide secure passage for civilians. Observation points will also monitor the ceasefire in the region.    

Turkey was offered to establish a ceasefire observation mission in the opposition-held Syrian province of Idlib during a meeting last month in Astana, Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak told Hurriyet on May 12.


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