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Idlib settlement can be achieved on southern de-escalation zone pattern — diplomat

The situation in Idlib is very difficult, it has the biggest concentration of militants and terrorists, Russian Ambassador in Damascus Alexander Kinshchak said

MOSCOW, July 19. /TASS/. The situation in Syria’s Idlib province can be settled on the pattern of the southern de-escalation zone, the problem necessitates a delicate approach, Russian Ambassador in Damascus Alexander Kinshchak told reporters on Thursday.

"The situation in Idlib is very difficult, it has the biggest concentration of militants and terrorists. The borders of this de-escalation zone run very close to major cities and facilities, for example they run practically along the outskirts of Aleppo," the ambassador said. "It is exactly from this zone that combat UAVs fly towards Hmeymim (Russian base in Latakia), creating a real danger to us," Kinshchak said.

"These problems must be addressed, but carefully, delicately, without attracting additional attention, including from the media," the ambassador said. "The conversation is not easy, each of the countries guarantors of the Syrian ceasefire (Russia, Iran and Turkey) have their national interests, their vision as to what and how must be done in Syria," he explained.

He said the parties are trying to find points of coincidence. "Cooperation has so far succeeded, and everything will go well in Idlib as well," the diplomat added.

He said it is not ruled out that the settlement in Idlib will be achieved by the example of the southern de-escalation zone in Syria. "Taking a look at the way the anti-terrorist operation unfolds in southern provinces, we see that the result is achieved mainly through negotiations," he noted. "The residents of these regions want to make peace, they put pressure on the militants. I don’t rule out that we can have something like that in Idlib," the ambassador went on to say.

"This won’t be easy and will take long," he summed up.

In May 2017, the Syrian ceasefire guarantor nations, namely Russia, Iran and Turkey, signed a memorandum in Astana on setting up four de-escalation zones in Syria. In mid-September, they announced that all zones were functioning.

De-escalation zones include the Idlib Province, some parts of its neighboring areas in the Latakia, Hama and Aleppo Provinces north of the city of Homs, Eastern Ghouta, as well as the Daraa and al-Quneitra Provinces in southern Syria.