Iran, Russia, Turkey agree on new de-escalation zone in Syria
Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed to deploy observers on the edge of a de-escalation zone in northern Syria’s Idlib region, which is largely controlled by militants, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
“Observers from these three countries will be deployed at check and observation points in safe zones that form the borders of the de-escalation zone,” the ministry said in a statement after talks in Kazakhstan, Reuters reported.
It said the mission of the observers would be to prevent clashes between the Syrian government and militants, and any violations of the truce.
Idlib Province, in northwestern Syria, on the border with Turkey, is largely under the control of a militant alliance spearheaded by the former Al-qaeda offshoot Nusra Front.
It was one of four regions across Syria, mainly controlled by militants, which Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed in May to designate as de-escalation zones in support of a cease-fire agreement.
So far, agreements have been reached on the demarcation of three of the zones in Idlib’s neighboring provinces of Latakia, Aleppo, and Hama.
Russia and Iran have been strong supporters of Assad during the sixyear-old conflict, while Turkey has backed some of the militant factions who fought against the Syrian government.
“This announcement of a deescalation zone in Idlib constitutes the final stage of the realization of the memorandum signed in May,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said, adding that the May accord had brought a significant decline in violence.
“With this latest development, the memorandum is making a significant contribution to providing necessary conditions to further the political solution process going on in Geneva under UN monitoring.”
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since 2011.