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    Astana Talks Sides Suggest Two Centers to Monitor Syria De-escalation

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    Parties to Astana talks on Syria suggest monitoring over Syrian situation to be conducted from two monitoring centers, a source in one of the delegations told Sputnik.

    ASTANA (Sputnik) — Parties to the fifth international meeting on Syria suggest that monitoring over de-escalation in Syria be conducted from two monitoring centers — Jordanian and Russian-Turkish, a source in one of the delegations told Sputnik.

    "We expect that there will be two monitoring centers. One in Jordan, and the other one — partially in Turkey and partially in Syria. The first one would be Jordanian-Russian-US actually, and would be responsible for the southern de-escalation zone. In Turkey and Syria, the center would be Russian-Turkish," the source said.

    "These lines of contact of borders have almost been decided on the second and third zones. There are issues with Idlib and we have some reservations on the southern zone," head of the Russian delegation Alexander Lavrentyev told reporters.

    "Depending on when the signing of the agreement on the de-escalation zones is reached, one should expect the adoption of specific actions to deploy the forces within two-three weeks," Lavrentyev told reporters.

    The fourth meeting in Astana format in May was a breakthrough, as the three ceasefire guarantor states signed a memorandum on the establishment of four de-escalation zones in Syria. Monitoring over the de-escalation zones is now the main topic on the agenda of the fifth meeting in the Kazakh capital.

    "Monitoring centers would exchange information and suggest measures to prevent violations, such as military disengagement, if necessary, under the Turkish and Russian control," the source added.

    Moreover, the joint operation of guarantor states to control the de-escalation in Syria is likely to be announced for three months initially with a possibility to extend it in future, a source at the ongoing Astana talks on Syria told Sputnik on Tuesday.

    "Most likely, it will be first announced for three months with a possibility to prolong it in future. This is how the de-escalation zones and control over them would be implemented [on the ground]. If peace is established, divisions of guarantor states could be changed to the Syrian ones — those of the government and the opposition," the source said.

    The source added that control over the northern de-escalation zones would be in Turkish and Russian hands, over the central zone — in Iranian and Russian hands, and over the southern zone — in Russian hands.

    Meanwhile, participants of the ongoing talks on Syria in Astana have reached an agreement on all de-escalation zones except for the southern one, an official from the Russian delegation, who preferred to stay unnamed, told reporters on Tuesday.

    "An agreement on all de-escalation zones in Syria is almost reached," the official said.

    The only zone that has not been coordinated yet is the southern one, he added.

    "Anyway, it will be discussed later," he said.

    Defining the exact borders of the four de-escalation zones and the monitoring procedures are the main issues on the agenda at the fifth international meeting on Syria currently held in Astana.

    The declaration on the results of the fifth international meeting on Syria will most likely set up a National Reconciliation Center — body that would be made up of the Syrian authorities representatives and respected statesmen, a source in one of the delegations in Astana told Sputnik.

    "The [final] declaration will have a provision on the National Reconciliation Committee. It will be formed out of representatives of the Syrian authorities and local respected people, elder statesmen. The committee would focus on all domestic issues, including security. It will be a solely Syrian thing, without anyone's mediation," the source said.

    "All parties agree on the idea of creating such a committee. There were some concerns over the implications for the Geneva process, but they have been resolved," the source added.

    The Russian delegation head to the Astana talks on Syria, Alexander Lavrentyev, said Tuesday said he expected the delegations to adopt a document on establishment of a joint coordination center on monitoring of the situation in the de-escalation zones in Syria.

    The sides to the Astana talks on Syria are also working on documents relating to release of prisoners and demining of historic sites, he added.

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    Astana meeting, conflict, ceasefire monitoring, Kazakhstan, Syria, Astana
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