Turkey, Russia to deploy to Idlib’s de-escalation zones


Turkish and Russian personnel will be deployed in Syria’s northern Idlib region as part of a de-escalation agreement,  Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said on Thursday.

Ibrahim Kalin said the de-escalation zones, agreed by Turkey, Russia and Iran, would be further discussed during talks in the Kazakh capital Astana in early July.

“We will probably be most prominent in the Idlib region with the Russians; mostly Russia and Iran around Damascus, and a mechanism involving the Americans and Jordan in the south in the Daraa region is being worked on,” said Kalin.

Vladimir Shamanov, head of the Russian Duma defence committee, told RIA news agency Moscow was discussing proposals to send Kazakh and Kyrgyz troops to Syria with representatives of those countries.

“The negotiation process has begun, there is no decision yet,” he was quoted as saying

Under their May 4 accord, Russia, Turkey and Iran agreed to establish four separate de-escalation zones in Syria for at least six months.

The largest of the planned zones includes Idlib province, which neighbours Turkey, and adjoining districts of Hama, Aleppo and Latakia provinces.

The other three zones are in northern Homs province, the Eastern Ghouta region east of the capital Damascus and along the Jordanian border in southern Syria.

The three countries had been due to finalise maps of the de-escalation zones by June 4, but have not said whether agreement has been reached.

Political and armed opposition groups in Syria rejected the proposal when it was announced last month. They said Russia has been unwilling or unable to get the Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad and his Iranian-backed militia allies to respect past ceasefires.

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