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MIDEAST >Turkey-Russia-Iran meet in Ankara for ‘de-escalation zones’ in Syria

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Delegations from 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 Iran on May 21, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has stated.

“There are recommendations about which soldiers should be deployed in de-escalation zones. The countries can give troops under the supervision of the U.N. 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 U.N. roof,” Çavuşoğlu said during a televised interview on May 18. 

A U.N. 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 added. 

Ankara has urged Washington to focus on finding a political solution in Syria as much as it works on defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

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.

Russia, Turkey and Iran will form a joint working group on de-escalation zones in Syria within two 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 a memorandum signed by the countries.

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 cease-fire in the region.   

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

May/18/2017

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