Posts Tagged ‘Trump and safe zones in Syria’

Safe Zones in Syria: A double-edged sword

By Farhang Jahanpour

After six years of brutal conflict in Syria, hundreds of thousands of fatalities, unimaginable hardship experienced by civilians with millions displaced inside the country or becoming refugees abroad, and the destruction of most of that ancient land, the Syrian tragedy is entering a new phase.

The Russian air campaigns that started on behalf of the Syrian government in September 2015 have strengthened the government against the rebels and have forced the rebels to agree to negotiations. To that extent, the Russian intervention must be seen as a success, as it has paved the way for the latest developments. Earlier attempts at intervention by the West and their coalition had failed, mainly because they were pursuing the single goal of regime change.

Meeting in Astana on 4th May 2017, the representatives of the Russian Federation, Turkey and Iran that back rival sides in the conflict signed a Memorandum establishing “de-escalation zones” in four parts of the country mainly under the control of the insurgents.

According to the Memorandum: “Along the borders of the de-escalation zones, it is envisaged to create safe areas to prevent incidents and direct clashes between the warring parties.” It is important to remember that this is not a ceasefire, or a final political agreement. As the name itself implies, it is aimed mainly at de-escalating the violence, thus paving the way for an eventual ceasefire and hopefully a political agreement between various warring factions in the coming months and years.

According to the agreement, the safe zones would include the whole of Idlib province; parts of Lattakia, Aleppo and Hama provinces; parts of Homs province; East Ghouta region; and also parts of the southern Deraa and al-Quneitra provinces. It seems that Turkey will exert some influence over Idlib, the Kurds will get a northern strip, and the rest of the safe zones will cater for the areas dominated by the rebels and the Syrian government.

This is the latest in a series of agreements and ceasefires that have failed to bring peace to Syria. Read the rest of this entry »


Subscribe to
TFF PressInfo
and Newsletter