Representatives from Turkey, Russia and Iran – guarantor powers in the Astana talks – kicked off the sixth round of a high-level trilateral meeting in Tehran, in a bid to reach a consensus on de-escalation zones in Syria, on Aug. 8.
“Three de-escalation zones are already operating in southern Syria, Eastern Ghouta and north of Homs, but the parties are working on the largest zone in the province of Idlib,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Aug. 6.
The fifth international meeting in the Kazakh capital of Astana to settle a ceasefire in Syria took place on July 4 and 5, with the participation of Special Envoy of the U.N. Secretary-General for Syria Staffan de Mistura, delegations from the guarantor countries, the Syrian government and the Syrian armed opposition, along with representatives from Jordan and the U.S. as observers.
However, Russia, Turkey and Iran failed in the July meeting on creating four de-escalation zones in Syria after Ankara raised objections, with the three countries setting up a working group to reconcile their positions before the August meeting.
“The Turkish delegation objected to the adoption of any documents related to the implementation of mechanisms of the agreement on the de-escalation zones,” Bashar al-Jaafari, Syria’s U.N. envoy, said.
In May, the participants of the talks in Astana agreed on establishing four safe zones in Syria as part of the de-escalation process. Russia, Iran and Turkey will deploy security forces after they reach a final agreement.