BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:45 A.M.) – The full implementation of de-escalation zones in Syria agreed upon by Russia, Turkey and Iran in a memorandum on May 4 in Astana is badly delayed. As we reported back in May the negotiations seemed promising and still on track to be finished within the scheduled time frame.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told the Russian RIA news, that the meeting has now been rescheduled multiple times: “We wanted to hold it on June 12, but we were told that they will not be ready by that time, then we were told 20, now our Turkish and Iranian partners say that they will not be able to study all the draft documents that we submitted.”
Originally officials announced their ambitions to meet in early June but the latest planning eyes a meeting from July 4 to 5. The parties involved are designated to agree on the last details of the agreement on the establishment of four de-escalation zones in Syria within the fifth round of talks in Astana.
According to the memorandum Russia, Turkey and Iran, which serve as guarantors for the warring parties involved in the ceasefire agreement implicated within the establishment of de-escalation zones, should have set up a joint working group until May 19. In addition they should have completed “the preparation of the maps of the de-escalation areas and security zones and to separate the armed opposition groups from the terrorist groups” by June 4.
Yet as of now neither was the formation of a joint working group announced, nor have updated and more detailed maps on the location of the planned de-escalation zones been published. Participants hope the full implementation of the de-escalation zones could prove to be a first step to reach a lasting settlement of the Syrian conflict.