MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The establishment of de-escalation zones in Syria does not signify the creation of preconditions to partition the country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.
"Indeed, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed many times that it was not the creation of preconditions to partition Syria … This is the need to begin progressing towards full ceasefire and de-escalation on the whole Syrian territory. Seeing as it is extremely hard to introduce such regime on the whole territory in one go, a decision was made to begin with these zones of which we are speaking," Lavrov told a press conference.
Lavrov stressed that the work on a final agreement related to details of monitoring the ceasefire and of implementing crossing points to and from the safe zones was underway.
"Above all, [the crossing points need to be organized] for civilians and for humanitarian assistance, which will certainly facilitate the situation of the population in respective areas," Lavrov added.
Syria has been in the state of civil war for six years, with government forces fighting against both Syrian opposition groups who strive to overthrow President Bashar Assad, and numerous extremist and terrorist groups such as Daesh and al-Nusra Front (Jabhat Fatah al Sham), both of which are outlawed in Russia. Russia and Turkey are the guarantors of a nationwide Syrian ceasefire regime that came into force on December 30, 2016.