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Syria: Turkey, Russia, Iran Agree to Safe Zone Deal

  • VOA News

A view shows the damage at a hospital after an airstrike in Deir al-Sharqi village in Idlib province, Syria, April 27 2017.

Turkey, Russia and Iran agreed Friday to a deal that will see the countries work together to police a de-escalation zone in Syria’s Idlib province for the next six months, according to a joint statement issued by the three countries following talks in Kazakhstan.

The three nations also agreed to set up a coordination center to monitor the implementation of other de-escalation zones around Syria during the latest round of peace talks in Astana.

According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, observers from all three countries will be stationed at “control and observation” points within the de-escalation zones.

“The observer forces' main task will be to prevent conflicts between the regime and the opposition and to monitor possible violations of the cease-fire,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Soldiers distribute Russian humanitarian aid at the check-point of the de-escalation zones near Homs, Syria, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017.
Soldiers distribute Russian humanitarian aid at the check-point of the de-escalation zones near Homs, Syria, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017.

While the three nations agreed to set up the de-escalation zones, the details about how to enforce the safe zones are still being worked out, Russia's representative at Syrian peace talks, Alexander Lavrentiev, told Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

He said the “mechanism and concrete locations [of a deployed force in Idlib] will be discussed,” according to RIA Novosti.

According to Lavrentyev, Turkey, Russia and Iran all will send about 500 observers to Idlib, with the Russian contingent consisting of military policemen.

Idlib, which borders Turkey, was captured in 2015 by an alliance of jihadists and rebels.

Representatives from both the Syrian government and the rebel groups attended the Astana talks.

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