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Lavrov blasts claims that de-escalation zones are blueprint for Syria’s breakup

These "provocative statements" are similar to those used in relation to the situation in Aleppo, Russia's top diplomat said

MOSCOW, June 5. /TASS/. Russia has labelled all claims alleging that the agreed on de-escalation zones will result in Syria’s dismemberment a provocation, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Monday.

"Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stressed that the de-escalation zones are not aimed at creating preconditions for Syria’s breakup," Lavrov pointed out. "The idea is about the need to start moving towards peace, a ceasefire and de-escalation all across Syria." Yet, trying to attain all these in one go throughout the country is quite difficult to do, therefore a decision was taken to start with these four zones," Lavrov explained. "These zones have been agreed on and now efforts are underway to hammer out specific details linked to ensuring the monitoring of ceasefire commitments and on setting up checkpoints for civilians and humanitarian assistance, he said.

Moscow has stressed many times that this temporary measure should be implemented in other Syrian regions. "However, there are those who seek to make claims that initiators of de-escalation zones will bring about Syria’s division. This is not true, putting it mildly," Lavrov said, noting that these "provocative statements" are similar to those used in relation to the situation in Aleppo.

"When the agreements were reached in Eastern Aleppo on the voluntary exodus of gunmen with arms from there, we were accused of ethnic cleansing, they raised Cain about this all over the world," Lavrov resumed. "Now tens of thousands of Sunnis, who had left Eastern Aleppo, returned to their homes and continue coming back," the top diplomat said, noting that media outlets remain mum on this.

Meanwhile, the authors of the assessments on Eastern Aleppo are failing to cover the humanitarian aspects of storming Iraq’s Mosul, Lavrov noted.

On May 4, Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed to set up four de-escalation zones in Syria. Under a memorandum signed at the talks in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana, these four zones include the Idlib Province and some areas in the neighboring provinces (of Aleppo, Latakia and Hama), an area north of Homs, the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, and a couple of provinces in southern Syria - Daraa and Al-Quneitra. In those areas, outlawing combat operations, along with the establishment of a no-fly zone for military aircraft, were set as of May 6. The memorandum was concluded for six months and can be extended automatically.