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Astana meeting participants say ready to cooperate for Syria ceasefire implementation

February 06, 2017, 14:51 updated at: February 06, 2017, 16:10 UTC+3

The Russian Defense Ministry reports representatives of Russia, Iran and Turkey have defined ways to separate the Syrian opposition units from the Jabhat al-Nusra terror group

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Eastern Aleppo, Syria

Eastern Aleppo, Syria

© AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

ASTANA, February 6. /TASS/. Representatives of Russia, Iran and Turkey confirmed at the meeting in Astana their readiness to cooperate for the full implementation of the ceasefire in Syria, head of Russia’s delegation Stanislav Gadzhimagomedov said.

"The delegations have confirmed readiness for cooperation in the interests of the full implementation of the ceasefire," said Gadzhimagomedov, who is the deputy head of the Russian Armed Forces' main operational department.

"In addition, Russia has prepared two documents. One of the documents is a protocol to the agreement on cessation of hostilities which regulates ceasefire terms, liabilities of the sides on ensuring humanitarian access, exchange of forcibly kept people and other details," he said.

"Apart from that, we have drafted regulations on reconciled settlements and regions. We think this document will make it possible to swiftly stabilize the situation in blocked Syrian regions where the opposition has signed ceasefire agreements, in particular, in Eastern Ghouta, in the area of Wadi barada and other such regions," the Russian military official said.

According to Gadzhimagomedov, these are "complicated documents which require agreement both with the Syrian government and the opposition." "But we hope they will be finalized by the next meeting," he added.

"The constitution itself was not discussed. Attention of the military experts was focused first of all on elaborating mechanisms of control over the ceasefire," Gadzhimagomedov said.

Ways to separate the Syrian opposition units form Jabhat al-Nusra

Representatives of Russia, Iran and Turkey have defined ways to separate the Syrian opposition units from the Jabhat al-Nusra terror group, he added.

"At our last meeting, we used maps to separate areas controlled by the IS from those occupied by the moderate opposition, while this time we focused on defining areas where Jabhat al-Nusra operates," he said.

Gadzhimagomedov added that the parties did not have the same opinion "on every issue" but on the whole, the meeting’s participants "have succeeded in drawing these areas on maps."

"Already now, some formations of the Free Syrian Army are conducting active combat operations against groups of Jabhat al-Nusra in the provinces of Aleppo and Idlib in north Syria," the general said.

According to the general, "such work should also be carried out in the southern and central provinces of Syria."

According to the general, Russian and Turkish experts have been exchanging data on ceasefire violations daily, analyzing them and taking steps in order to prevent further violations and "reduce tensions" in Syria. "However, according to all of the (Astana meeting) participants, international terror groups have been interfering with these activities," Gadzhimagomedov said.

"This is why we have agreed to continue the work aimed at separating the moderate opposition from terrorists, as well as the fight against the ISIL (Islamic State’s former name) and Jabhat al-Nusra," the general added.

Mechanism for monitoring ceasefire

Participants in a meeting in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, have discussed modes of a mechanism for monitoring ceasefire in Syria.

"Participants in the session discussed the course of implementation of the Syrian ceasefire, special measures towards creating a mechanism of efficient monitoring and control with an aim to ensure an efficient ceasefire, preventing any provocations and determining all modalities of the ceasefire," said Stanislav Gadzhimagomedov.

"During our first meeting, we have almost completely agreed on the draft document on the joint operational group for control of the ceasefire. Some details still need considering. I believe, at the next meeting we will be able to sign the document," Gadzhimagomedov added.

"At the meeting we managed to discuss the ceasefire status. Although some incidents still occur, their number reduced considerably of late and we agreed to take more steps along these lines to rule out all violations and provocations," Gadzhimagomedov said.

He said the meeting also focused "on mutual confidence-building measures to ensure an unimpeded humanitarian access".

A mechanism to enforce the ceasefire in Syria was established as a result of the talks in Astana on January 23-24 that brought together representatives of the three countries acting as guarantors of the ceasefire (Russia, Turkey and Iran), UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, and delegations of the armed opposition and the Syrian government.

Next meeting

 A next meeting of the joint task force on Syrian settlement comprising Russia, Iran and Turkey will he held on February 15-16.

"We have agreed to appoint a next meeting on February 15-16, i.e. before the meeting in Geneva. We plan to focus in more detail on the situation in Eastern Ghouta and the Wadi Barada area," he said.

"This is a preliminary appointment as it is to bee squared with Ankara and Teheran," he added.

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