Another uncertain round of talks on Syria

Jul 05,2017 – JORDAN TIMES

The fifth round of Astana talks on Syria, under the sponsorship of Russia, Iran and Turkey, started on Tuesday, with focus, this time, on the ceasefire, and the precise boundaries of the so-called de-escalation zones and who would police them.

It is generally agreed that the four such zones would encompass the Idlib province, northern parts of Homs province, eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, and the Daraa city environs, in the south of the country.

The Syrian army had unilaterally stopped the fight in the southern Daraa, Quneitra and Sweida provinces after having launched several major attacks there in the past few days in a bid to weaken the military presence of the anti-Damascus forces.

The idea of creating “safe zones” in some regions of the country, where about 2.5 million people live, is believed to be one step towards ending the six-year war in Syria. 

The issue, however, has a few crinkles that need to be ironed out, most vocal being the rebel factions’ opposition to the idea of Iran monitoring any such zone.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for the Syrian settlement, Aleksandr Lavrentyev, said his country might deploy its military to police the borders of de-escalation zones after finalising a deal with Turkey and Iran.

The last two also wish to bolster their influence.

The stationing of Russian ground forces in Syria, over and above its air and naval bases there, may very well be a sign that Russia intends to remain in this Arab country for a long time.

The wrangling for power among other players and the safe zones being contemplated could turn out to be steps towards dividing the country, which will then make it easy for foreign troops to secure a permanent presence in the fragmented regions.

That would indeed be an ominous future for Syria.

Still, the talks in Astana are only intended to complement broader political negotiations the United Nations is backing in Geneva, which are due to restart in the middle of this month.

Hopefully the fighting factions will come to their senses and see the danger their mindless war poses to their country, and then the outcome of the Geneva talks might be more promising.

Another uncertain round of talks on Syria Jul 05,2017 – Last updated at Jul 05,2017  0  1 googleplus0  0  0 The fifth round of Astana talks on Syria, under the sponsorship of Russia, Iran and Turkey, started on Tuesday, with focus, this time, on the ceasefire, and the precise boundaries of the so-called de-escalation zones and who would police them. It is generally agreed that the four such zones would encompass the Idlib province, northern parts of Homs province, eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, and the Daraa city environs, in the south of the country. The Syrian army had unilaterally stopped the fight in the southern Daraa, Quneitra and Sweida provinces after having launched several major attacks there in the past few days in a bid to weaken the military presence of the anti-Damascus forces. The idea of creating “safe zones” in some regions of the country, where about 2.5 million people live, is believed to be one step towards ending the six-year war in Syria.  The issue, however, has a few crinkles that need to be ironed out, most vocal being the rebel factions’ opposition to the idea of Iran monitoring any such zone. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for the Syrian settlement, Aleksandr Lavrentyev, said his country might deploy its military to police the borders of de-escalation zones after finalising a deal with Turkey and Iran. The last two also wish to bolster their influence. The stationing of Russian ground forces in Syria, over and above its air and naval bases there, may very well be a sign that Russia intends to remain in this Arab country for a long time. The wrangling for power among other players and the safe zones being contemplated could turn out to be steps towards dividing the country, which will then make it easy for foreign troops to secure a permanent presence in the fragmented regions. That would indeed be an ominous future for Syria. Still, the talks in Astana are only intended to complement broader political negotiations the United Nations is backing in Geneva, which are due to restart in the middle of this month. Hopefully the fighting factions will come to their senses and see the danger their mindless war poses to their country, and then the outcome of the Geneva talks might be more promising.

SOURCE:   http://jordantimes.com/opinion/editorial/another-uncertain-round-talks-syria

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