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Astana 6: Truce in Idlib Under Tripartite Observation… Opposition Against Iranian Participation | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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City of Idlib. Mohamed al-Bakour/AFP

Moscow, Beirut- Russian, Iran and Turkey, known as the guarantors of the peace talks in Astana have agreed Friday to establish a de-escalation zone in Idlib, northwest of Syria and to deploy 1500 monitors along the border of the area to prevent any clashes between regime forces and opposition groups.

A joint statement issued following two days of meetings in Astana said that the three countries agreed on the deployment of observer units to control the de-escalation areas in the Idlib province with the aim to prevent incidents and clashes between regime forces and opposition groups.

According to the statement, the guarantor countries, therefore, agreed on creating a joint Iranian-Russian-Turkish coordination center for coordinating activities in the de-escalation zones.

Head of the Russian delegation at the Astana talks Alexander Lavrentyev said on Friday that the number of monitors might reach 1500 members adding that each of the three countries agreed to send about 500 observers to Idlib, amid reports that Turkish backed opposition factions might infiltrate in the area to fight al-Nusra.

Lavrentyev added that the announcement of a de-escalation zone in Idlib constitutes the final stage of the realization of the four de-escalation zones in Syria.

Meanwhile, the opposition delegation wrote on its social media account: “There will be no presence of any Assad forces or his militias in any spot or part of the de-escalation zones and those forces will not have any role in the liberated areas.”

The statement added that the Free Army rejects that Iran participates in the monitoring of the truce in Idlib.

The head of the Syrian opposition delegation Fateh Hassoun told Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday: “Our presence at the meeting (in Astana) does not mean that we accept all the details and decisions issued there. Our position from Iran’s participation is clear and public and would not change.”

He said the opposition delegation could not write its reservation on the agreement reached between the guarantor countries because “we are not part of the signing parties.”

For his part, Syria’s special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura called to “bring the momentum of Astana” to broader talks on finding a political solution to the Syrian conflict.