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Diplomat: De-escalation zones in Syria may help separate opposition from terrorists

May 03, 20:38 UTC+3

Moscow hopes the Syrian armed opposition will attend talks in Kazakhstan’s Astana on May 4

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ASTANA, May 3. /TASS/. De-escalation zones in Syria will help break the impasse in separating moderate opposition from terrorists, said Presidential Special Representative for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev, the head of Russia’s delegation at the intra-Syrian talks in Astana.

"For improving the work (on a ceasefire - TASS), Russia came up forward with a proposal to set up so-called de-escalation zones in Syria," he said. "We believe that this might help set into motion the lingering problem of separating Syrian moderate opposition from terrorist organizations, primarily Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra (outlawed in Russia) and will help scale down the level of military confrontation between Syrian armed opposition and government forces."

"We are carrying out work and are ready to get in contact with Syrian armed opposition. Our Turkish counterparts are working with them since they share the opinion that the opposition should participate in negotiations," the diplomat said. "If the opposition believes there are some problems, they should be solved. So we hope that common sense will prevail and Mr. al-Alloush (Mohammad al-Alloush, the armed opposition’s head - TASS) and other leaders will appear at plenary meetings on May 4 after all."

"UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura held a meeting with the Syrian armed opposition today, which again showed an unconstructive attitude as it had arrived in Astana and afterwards accused Russia’s Aerospace Force of bombing moderate groups near Homs and Daraa," he said. "Russia’s General Staff denied the reports citing the situation monitoring data which prove that Russia’s aviation did not bombarded those areas."

"Working consultations practically with all delegations have been held at all levels," he said. "The Russian delegation met with Turkish and Iranian delegations and with the head of the Syrian government delegation, (Bashar al-) Jaafari."

Also, the Russian delegation had a meeting with the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Stuart Jones.

"For my part, I think all the meetings unfolded at a fair enough working level and showed positive moods of practically all the participants in the Astana talks," Lavrentyev said.

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