By Emre Gurkan Abay
Russia expects the establishment of a "de-escalation zone” in Idlib, a northern Syria province, as part of results of the negotiations between Turkey, Russia and Iran, the country’s foreign minister said Thursay.
Sergey Lavrov’s remarks came during a media briefing following the meeting with his Cambodian counterpart Prak Sokhon in the Russian capital Moscow.
“We expect a fourth de-escalation zone to be [established] in Idlib, following the ones in Syria’s west, Eastern Ghouta and Homs as a result of the negotiations [among Turkey, Russia and Iran]," he said.
Turkey and Iran, along with Russia, are the brokers for the Astana peace talks on Syria. At the latest round of talks in May, the three countries announced plans to establish “de-escalation zones” throughout the war-ravaged state.
During May talks in Kazakh capital Astana, Turkey (which supports the Syrian opposition) agreed with Russia and Iran (which support the Assad regime) on a plan to establish a network of “de-escalation zones” in different regions of war-torn Syria.
According to the agreement, the zones -- in which acts of aggression are nominally prohibited -- would cover the city of Idlib and certain parts of the Latakia, Homs, Aleppo and Hama provinces, along with Damascus, Eastern Ghouta, Daraa and Quneitra.
Regarding the recent remarks by President Donald Trump on the new U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, Lavrov said any military effort in Afghanistan was “vain”.
Trump announced Monday that the U.S. would not commit to any timetable to end its military presence in Afghanistan where it has been bogged down for the better part of two decades.
The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, ousting the Taliban after it gave sanctuary to now deceased al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.
But recent years have seen the Taliban and other armed groups grow in strength as the U.S.-backed central government in Kabul struggles to assert its authority across the country it nominally controls. The U.S. currently has about 8,400 troops in the country.