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Moscow Acts to Internationalize Syria’s Fragile Truce | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Boys walk near a damaged building in the rebel held besieged city of Douma, in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria December 30, 2016. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh

Beirut, Anakra- Russia tried on Friday to internationalize the Syria ceasefire deal it has reached with Ankara, as Moscow asked its allies at the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution supporting the upcoming peace talks in Astana.

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters that he formally presented the draft at a closed council meeting Friday, and said he hoped for a vote on Saturday morning.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said two weeks ago that he and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan are working to organize a new series of Syrian peace talks between the Bashar Assad regime and the opposition in Astana, the Kazakh capital.

Meanwhile, on Friday, regime forces and their allied militias committed 30 violations during the first day of the truce, mainly in the Damascus suburbs and in Hama.

Warplanes and helicopters also struck northwest of Damascus in the rebel-held Wadi Barada valley. Members from the Syrian opposition staged demonstrations following the Friday prayers in a peaceful move that recalled the March 2011 protests, which called for the fall of Bashar Assad’s regime.

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara had basically agreed with Moscow on the necessity to get the new U.S. administration headed by Donald Trump involved in solving the Syria crisis.

He also said Turkey would welcome the U.S. at upcoming Syria peace talks in Astana, saying “no parties were excluded” from the Astana process.

Cavusoglu and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov spoke over the phone on Thursday and discussed matters related to documents signed by Syria’s government and opposition.

When asked about Iran’s role, Cavasoglu said, “Iran should influence Shi’ite groups, primarily Hezbollah.”

The Turkish foreign minister said that if the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) accepts to lay off their arms and agrees to protect Syria’s unity; therefore, the YPG could be part of the solution. He said the Kurdish group would not be allowed to participate in upcoming talks in Astana. “Since the beginning, we have informed Russia about this.”

In a surprising move that reflected coordination between Ankara and Moscow, the Turkish Army announced on Friday that the Russian warplanes launched three airstrikes during the last 24 hours on ISIS positions in the surrounding of the Syrian al-Bab town, currently besieged by Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army forces.