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Syrian Official Source: Syria supports Russian initiative on de-escalation zones

An official source at Foreign and Expatriates Ministry announced on Wednesday that in light of the Syrian Arab Republic’s commitment to preserve the lives of the Syrian people and stop the bloodshed, and based on its readiness to agree on all that would help the Syrian people return to their normal life as much as possible, activating and reinforcing the Syrian economy, and raising the living standard of citizens who suffered from the war imposed on Syria, and in line with its assertion on the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, the Syrian Arab republic supports the Russian initiative on the de-escalation zones and stresses commitment to the cessation of hostilities agreement signed on December 30th, 2016 including not shelling those regions.

In this regard, Syria affirms the continuation of the Syrian Arab Army, the allied and backup forces in their war against terrorism and the fight against ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra and other affiliated terrorist organizations wherever they were all over the Syrian territories.

Russia, Iran and Turkey sign Russian memorandum on de-escalation zones

The guarantor states of the cessation of hostilities agreement in Syria signed on Thursday the Russian memorandum on de-escalation zones.

The signing took place during the plenary session of the Astana 4 meeting held in Kazakh’s capital of Astana with the participation of the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic headed by Bashar al-Jaafari and other delegations.

At the beginning of the plenary session, the Kazakh Minister of Foreign Affairs Kairat Abdrakhmanov said that on behalf of Iran, Russia and Turkey-the guarantor states of Astana process-the delegations of the three countries reaffirmed their commitment to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and stressed that there is no military solution to the crisis in Syria which should be solved through a political process based on the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions, particularly resolution no.2254 in its full form.

He added that the guarantor states have adopted a memorandum on easing tension in the Syrian Arab Republic, which seeks to create de-escalation areas from a point of view that is aimed at stopping the ongoing violence, improving the humanitarian situation and creating suitable conditions for reaching a political settlement of the crisis, in addition to combating terrorism in an effective way.

He pointed out that the guarantor countries said that all sides in Syria should take confidence-building measures and then contribute to a political settlement and a permanent ceasefire, adding that the participating delegations decided to hold another high-level meeting in Astana in mid-July.

Abdrakhmanov said the agreement reached in Astana contributes to easing the tension in Syria, stressing that the only solution to the crisis in Syria is the one that should be reached through dialogue.

He added that talks under the auspices of the United Nations are the only way to find a solution to the crisis in Syria, therefore, the Astana Platform and the talks in Geneva are interrelated and the influence of the three guarantor countries will also help, expecting that there will be important achievements in the ongoing negotiation process in this city.

Addressing a press conference at the end of the plenary session, al-Jaafari said he hopes that the Russian and Iranian friends will discuss the
details of the Russian memorandum on de-escalation zones with Damascus as soon as possible.

He added that Astana 4 was a qualitative leap in terms of the achievements reached, extending thanks to Kazakhstan, Russia and Iran for their efforts regarding “this big achievement” that will help stop the Syrian bloodshed and open the door for the political solution.

In turn, head of the Russian delegation to Astana meeting Alexander Lavrentyev told reporters that signing the memorandum on reduction-of-tension zones in Syria opens the door for allowing the preservation of Syria’s territorial integrity and achieving the political settlement.

Lavrentyev stressed that the guarantor states of the cessation of hostilities agreement in Syria agreed to the possibility of the participation of observers from other countries upon accord.

He noted that starting of the 6th of May, cessation of hostilities will be enforced in the four areas included in the memorandum.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura described the memorandum of understanding on de-escalation zones as a step in the right direction towards consolidating the cessation of hostilities.

Earlier, the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic held talks with Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov prior to the plenary meeting.

Russian document on creating de-escalation areas in Syria

Russian sources revealed on Thursday the content of the document of proposals put forth by Moscow on the establishment of de-escalation zones in Syria.

The document affirmed that the Russia, Iran and Turkey are guarantors to ensure that the cessation of hostilities regime is respected in the Syrian Arab Republic and will be referred to as “the guarantors”.

The document called for the creating of reduction-of-tension zones in Idleb province, to north of Homs and in Damascus’s Eastern Ghouta by the guarantors, and in southern Syria by the guarantors and other concerned parties, with the aim of putting an immediate end to the hostilities and improving the humanitarian situation and creating favorable conditions for the advancement of the political settlement of the crisis in Syria.

The document noted that within the de-escalation areas, hostilities will be controlled between the parties, including the use of any type of weapons, unhindered immediate and safe humanitarian access will be provided under the supervision of the guarantor, required conditions will be created for providing medical aid to the population and meeting the commercial or other needs of civilians, measures will be taken to restore social infrastructure, water supply and other life-supporting systems and conditions will be created to ensure the safe and voluntary return of refugees and the work of local governing bodies.

“Along the borders of the de-escalation zones, it is envisaged to create safe areas to prevent incidents and direct clashes between the warring parties,” the document said.

It added that the de-escalation areas will include checkpoints to ensure the free movement of unarmed civilians and the delivery of humanitarian assistance as well as economic activities and monitoring posts to ensure the implementation of the provisions of the cessation of hostilities regime.

The document noted that the representatives of the Syrian Arab Army and the armed opposition groups, which have joined the cessation of hostilities agreement, will carry out their tasks at checkpoints and monitoring posts.

The document noted that the guarantors should ensure that the parties fulfill the agreements and take all necessary measures to continue the fight against ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist groups and organizations in the tension areas, in addition to helping the governmental forces and the “armed opposition” to continue fighting against ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and individuals, groups and organizations affiliated to them as well as other terrorist organizations listed by the United Nations positioned outside the areas of tension and continuing activities to include “armed opposition” groups which have so far not participated in the peaceful settlement into the cessation of hostilities agreement.

The guarantor states under the project of creating de-escalation areas vowed to create a joint working group for its implementation within five days after signing the relevant memorandum.

“Guarantors within five days after signing the memorandum will create a working group at the level of authorized representatives to determine the boundaries of disarmament, areas of tension and security areas, as well as to address technical issues related to the implementation of the memorandum,” the text reads.

The preparation of the necessary maps of the “areas of tension and de-escalation areas” will be complete by May 22.

According to the document, the team will report to the meetings related to the settlement of the crisis in Syria within the framework of the Astana process.

De-escalation zones in Syria to be closed to U.S.-led coalition’s aviation

Russian Presidential Envoy for Astana talks Alexander Lavrentyev affirmed on Friday that the planned de-escalation zones in Syria will be closed to the US-led coalition’s aviation.

He stressed that the US-led coalition’s “actions in the de-escalation zones, starting from now those zones are closed for their flights.” He added that the flight ban was not part of the memorandum establishing the safe zones, but assured the coalition would not fly over them.

“As guarantors we will be tracking all actions in that direction,” he said. “Absolutely no flights, especially by the international coalition, are allowed. With or without prior notification. The issue is closed.”

He noted that the US-led coalition would continue airstrikes on the ISIS positions near Raqqa and a number of towns near the Euphrates River, Deir Ezzor city and the Iraqi territories.

“Speaking about the events in Khan Sheikhoun, Russia has irrefutable evidence that this is a pure provocation by structures, which are not interested in achieving peace on Syrian soil,” Lavrentyev noted.

FSA (Fake Syrian Army) terrorist leader and puppet-delegate angrily interrupts Syria peace talks


Syrian Arab News Agency by Mazen, Shaza, M. al-Frieh, H. Said
3, 4, 4, 5  of May 2017 
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