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Russian military police may be deployed in Syria’s buffer zones

July 04, 19:23 UTC+3

Establishment of de-escalation zones in Syria will begin within two or three weeks after signing relevant documents

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© Yuri Smetyuk/TASS

ASTANA, July 4. /TASS/. Russia’s military police may be deployed in buffer security zones in Syria, Russia’s chief negotiator at the Astana talks and Russian president’s envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev said on Tuesday.

"So far, it is difficult to speak about the presence of Russian monitors and defense ministry representatives, but, in general, it is supposed that Russian military police could be deployed in buffer security zones," he said.

"This issue has not yet been finally agreed. It will imply the status of de-escalation control forces," he added.

Establishment of de-escalation zones in Syria will begin within two or three weeks after signing relevant documents, according to Lavrentyev.

"Depending on the readiness of documents on security zones, I think concrete actions on deployment of forces could be taken within two or three weeks," he said, adding that another issue discussed at the talks was the establishment of a joint coordination center.

"A very important aspect is that all the guarantor countries want to set up a joint coordination center to monitor security in the de-escalation zones. I think we can pass this document in principle," Lavrentyev said.

Lavrentyev noted that contact lines in two out of the four de-escalation zones in Syria had been practically agreed.

"We still have some difficulties in establishing the lines of contact. The criterion for all zone is the same - the line of engagement between the parties," he noted. "But one thing is to work on maps and quite a different thing is to fit into the realities on the ground, which is rather difficult. This process requires certain time."

"Nevertheless, the contact lines, the borders in the second and third de-escalation zones (north of Homs and Eastern Ghouta - TASS) have been practically agreed," he said. "There are outstanding questions on Idlib and some reservations on the southern zone. I think we will be able to reach a compromise solution of these issues very soon."

According to the Russian negotiator, the key decision on de-facto de-escalation zones and "the launch of a process towards lasting ceasefire" depends on those matters. "We all want it and will work today into the night and the whole day on July 5 to try to launch this process," he stressed.

Russia believes it is possible to sign a document on separate de-escalation zones in Syria, there are various options.

"Any variants are possible. Thus, one embraces three zones, another one includes Idlib, yet another is about two central zones (north of Homs and in Eastern Ghouta) where borders have already been agreed," he said.

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