GENEVA (Sputnik) – The de-escalation zones in Syria, agreed on during the Astana talks, led to a a discernible reduction in levels of violence near Idlib and western Aleppo, chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic Paulo Sergio Pinheiro said Wednesday.
"The de-escalation zones agreed by Russia, Iran and Turkey, the guarantors of the last round of the Astana talks, have resulted in a discernible reduction in levels of violence in the zones around Idlib and western Aleppo," Pinheiro said speaking before the UN Human Rights Council, as quoted by the organization.
However, hostilities continue unabated in Homs, Damascus and Daraa, he added.
"The establishment of de-escalation zones is a step in the right direction. They potentially help to support the conditions necessary for more comprehensive political discussions within the Geneva framework led by [UN] Special Envoy [Staffan] de Mistura," Pinheiro noted.
The chairman of the commission underlined that only an inclusive political settlement of the Syrian conflict would lead to achievement of sustainable peace in the country.signed the memorandum on establishment of four safe zones Syria as part of the Astana settlement talks. The zones span the northwestern Idlib province and parts of the neighboring Latakia, Hama and Aleppo, the north of the central Homs province, Eastern Ghouta near Damascus, as well as southern Daraa and Quneitra regions. The memorandum came into force on May 6.
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.