Kazakh Foreign Ministry: Astana meeting is major step toward peace in Syria

Syrian rebels reject Russia's proposal for safe zones | Reuters

Russia, Turkey and Iran - the tripartite states mediating for peace in Syria - have signed a memorandum on creating de-escalation zones in the war-torn Arab country.

The opposition has protested Iran's participation at the conference, accusing it of being a party in the war that's killed some 400,000 people.

While details of the de-escalation agreement between the three guarantor parties have not been made public, expectations have been raised that it will lead to greater humanitarian access for the 6.3 million Syrians still living in the country.

He also cited what he called "a huge gap" between the promises of Russian Federation, which intervened militarily in 2015 on Assad's side and gave him back the upper hand in the conflict, and the reality of earlier failed ceasefires.

Russia, for its part, vowed to ensure that warplanes would not be used in the Syrian safe zones in Syria, according to Russian delegation head Alexander Lavrentyev.

Vladimir Putin is the only world political leader who really has seized the strategic high ground and initiative in Syria.

Russian Federation and Iran back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces in the war while Turkey is supporting rebel forces.

Russia's representative at the Syria talks says the "de-escalation zones" will be closed to military aircraft from the US -led coalition.




Aleksandr Lavrentyev, the Russian negotiator at the Astana talks, was quoted by Russian news media as saying Russia was prepared to send observers to these zones and "work more closely" with other countries that back the rebels, including the United States and Saudi Arabia.

The first zone includes the whole of Idlib province along with certain parts of neighboring Latakia, Aleppo and Hama provinces.

The United Nations' envoy for Syria is calling on the armed opposition's delegation to return to the talks underway in Kazakhstan where a proposal to establish safe zones in the country is a top issue.

Putin said Wednesday that ways to monitor the zones would be an issue for separate talks.

The ministry pointed out that signing a pact on Thursday on the creation of so-called de-escalation zones where Syrian government and opposition forces would not be allowed to engage, became the main outcome of the negotiations.

The Secretary-General welcomes the affirmation from the Astana meeting of the fundamental importance of a political solution and the full support expressed there for the UN-led intra-Syrian talks process in Geneva within the framework of Security Council resolution 2254.

There was no immediate comment from the Jordanian Foreign Ministry, which along with the United Nations and the U.S., attended the talks in the Kazakh capital as observers.

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