Turkey, Russia, and Iran are working on a mechanism to monitor the so-called “de-escalation” agreement in Syria, including involving U.S. troops in the establishment of zones of responsibility, a Turkish official says.
Vladimir Shamanov, head of the Russian Duma's defense committee, said on June 22 that Russia has asked Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to send troops to help monitor the de-escalation zones as part of attempts to end six years of bloody civil war in Syria.
A spokesman of the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry said the same day that it had no information on the possibility of its troops taking part in military operations in Syria.
“We (Turkish forces) will probably be most prominent in the Idlib region with the Russians; mostly Russia and Iran around Damascus,” Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was quoted on June 22 by the Hurriyet newspaper as saying.
Kalin also said Russia had asked the two Central Asian countries about sending troops to Syria.
He added that “a mechanism involving the Americans and Jordan in the south in the Deraa region is being worked on." Anti-Assad rebels control most of the Deraa area, which borders Jordan.
Kalın said a more specific plan was being developed to determine which countries would be assigned to particular areas and the precise number of troops to be deployed.
Russia, Iran, and Turkey agreed on a plan to set up four "de-escalation zones" in Syria where forces of President Bashar al-Assad's government have been fighting U.S.-backed rebels.
Rebels have criticized the de-escalation plan, and the United States has voiced reservations about Iran's role in the process.
According to a Wall Street Journal report on June 10, the United States and Russia were quietly holding talks on creating a de-escalation zone for U.S.-led forces in Syria.
Citing Western diplomats and regional officials, Reuters reported that U.S. and Russian special envoys to Syria, Michael Ratney and Aleksandr Lavrentiev, respectively, had met at least twice and were planning to meet again on the matter.
Russia and Iran have supported Assad’s government in the civil war, while the United States and Turkey back differing rebel groups. The Islamic State (IS) militant group has also become involved in the war, fighting against all other sides.
UN-brokered talks in Geneva have failed to make progress toward a political solution to end the civil war, which began in March 2011 when protests broke out against Assad’s government.
Along with the Geneva talks, separate negotiations sponsored by Russia, Iran, and Turkey focusing on a December cease-fire deal have been held in the Kazakh capital of Astana, where the de-escalation agreement was brokered.
At least 300,000 people have been killed and millions of others have been displaced since the start of the war.