MNA– The establishment of safe zones in Syria proposed by Russia and signed by it in a memorandum alongside two co-guarantors Turkey and Iran could impact at least 2.6 million people, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said Thursday.”When you talk about four of the de-escalation areas, this has the potential of affecting — hopefully positively from a humanitarian point of view — at least 2.6 million people,” de Mistura said at a briefing in Geneva.
The May round of the Astana talks resulted in a memorandum signed by the Syrian ceasefire guarantor states (Russia, Iran, Turkey) aimed at creation of four zones of de-escalation in Syria, which include the province of Idlib and seven other regions. Any clashes between the government forces and opposition armed groups must stop within the zones.
The memorandum on de-escalation zones took effect on May 6.
Russia’s deputy defense minister said on May 5 that the implementation of the memorandum on de-escalation zones would put an end to the civil war.
De Mistura confirmed that the next round of “businesslike” intra-Syrian talks in Geneva will be held on May 16 with a target end date of May 19.
“Let us confirm that we are preparing the intra-Syrian new round of talks next week. They will be starting on [May] 16. We are aiming as a target toward [May] 19,” he said.
He said the talks aimed to “hit the iron while it’s hot” following the May 3-4 Astana talks attended by the UN.
“There have been some outcomes which we find extremely potentially promising,” de Mistura said, referring to the ceasefire and de-escalation zones memorandum signed by guarantors Russia, Turkey and Iran in the Kazakh capital.
He told reporters “we are getting into what we hope [is a] more businesslike type of approach,” vowing to elaborate on the logistics of the next round of Geneva talks on Monday.
The civil war in Syria has been lasting for around six years with government troops fighting against numerous opposition factions and terror organizations such as al-Nusra Front and ISIL.
The nationwide Syrian ceasefire regime was introduced on December 30, 2016. Terrorist organizations are not part of the ceasefire.