Iran, Russia Discuss Syrian Crisis, Astana Talks

During the telephone conversation on Thursday, Zarif and Lavrov underlined the need for settling the Syrian crisis through political means.

The two sides also reviewed the talks on Syria held in Astana, Kazakhstan.

The Astana discussions have brought representatives from the government in Damascus and opposition groups to the negotiating table in a bid to end the foreign-backed militancy in Syria, which broke out in March 2011.

Four rounds of the negotiations took place on January 23-24, February 15-16, March 14-15, May 3-4 and July 4-5. A sixth round is expected to be held in mid-September.

The fourth round of the intra-Syrian talks resulted in an agreement on four de-escalation zones across Syria, with Russia, Iran, and Turkey serving as guarantor states.

Three of the safe zones have been created to date in Syria’s central province of Homs, in the Eastern Ghouta and a southwestern militant-controlled stretch along the border with Jordan. They have sharply reduced fighting in the conflict zones.

The upcoming Astana talks are aimed at facilitating the creation of the fourth de-escalation zone, in Syria’s Western Idlib Province, where significant concentrations of terrorists are operating.

“Three de-escalation zones have already been established, the fourth one is being formed in the area of Idlib. The next meeting in the Astana format will be held in the near future, where I hope these agreements will be finally fixed in legal documents,” Lavrov said earlier this week.

 

 

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