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Turkish ambassador says decisions on Syrian de-escalation zones should be made in Astana

In September 2017, Russia, Iran and Turkey announced the establishment of four de-escalation zones

MOSCOW, February 15. /TASS/. Only participants in the Astana process are eligible to make decisions concerning the establishment of de-escalation zones in Syria, Turkish Ambassador to Russia Huseyin Lazip Dirioz said on Thursday.

"The establishment of de-escalation zones in Syria in very important," he said. "The more of them there are, the better. But this issue should be tackled only within the Astana process," he added.

The Turkish ambassador pointed out that de-escalation zone agreements could not be applied to terrorists.

Negotiations on Syria in Astana make an important contribution to the Geneva process and settlement in this Arab republic, he added. Cooperation between Moscow and Astana is important for the peaceful atmosphere in the region, he said. "We are glad to note the effectiveness of the Astana process and the Syrian National Dialogue Congress that was recently held in Sochi," the Turkish diplomat said. "Astana makes a significant contribution to the Geneva process and political settlement in Syria."

Dirioz also noted a high rate of development of Russian-Turkish relations. "Eight meetings between the heads of our countries were held last year alone," he reiterated. "As for telephone calls between our leaders, we lost count already.

Syrian de-escalation zones

In accordance with a decision made by Russia, Iran and Turkey - the guarantors of the Syrian ceasefire - de-escalation zones began to be set up in Syria in May 2017. In mid-September 2017, the guarantor countries announced the establishment of all the four de-escalation zones.

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.