Peace Guarantors to Set Up Posts in Syria’s Idlib Province

Hossein Jaberi Ansari
Hossein Jaberi Ansari

The three sponsors of Syria’s peace process talks, namely Iran, Russia and Turkey, agreed in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Tuesday to each set up 12 observation posts in Syria’s Idlib Province, the head of Iranian delegation at the talks said.

“At the conclusion of the seventh round of the talks, the three guarantors agreed to each set up 12 observation posts along the security border of Idlib to materialize the agreed de-escalation zones. The posts will be set up in different locations of Idlib,” IRNA quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari as saying on Wednesday.

The talks that began in the Kazakh capital in January have run parallel to negotiations taking place in Geneva with the backing of the United Nations.

In fact, the recent rounds of talks in the Central Asian nation have focused on ironing out the details of a plan to establish four de-escalation zones in Syria. The plan, which calls for a halt of air raids in these areas, would last for at least six months and can be extended, if necessary.

In mid-September, Iran and Russia, which support the government, and Turkey, which backs the rebels, agreed on the boundaries of the final de-escalation zone in Idlib.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the deployment of military forces in Idlib in October, saying Turkey was conducting a “serious operation” with rebel groups it supports. The deployment appeared to be aimed at containing a Kurdish militia there.

However, the Turkish Army said at the time that its forces in Syria were conducting operations in line with rules of engagement agreed with Russia and Iran.

Syria demanded in October that Turkish troops, which had entered northwestern Syria, leave immediately, saying that their presence constituted a “flagrant aggression”.

Ansari said the Syrian delegation at the talks reported some violations by Turkey in the Idlib de-escalation zone, which the Turkish delegation explicitly denied, arguing that it had only operated along the Idlib security border because of security reasons.

He said the Iranian delegation had called on all sides to honor their agreements within the framework of de-escalation zones, stressing that any alleged violation should be dealt with by the guarantor states at the talks.

The Iranian diplomat, however, noted that disagreements regarding Turkish actions in Idlib were left unresolved, explaining that a special committee will follow up the issue.

Ansari noted that there is no military solution to the seven-year war, saying that the trio needs to work together to help the war-ravaged country come out of the current critical situation.


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