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    This Saturday, April. 29, 2017 still taken from video, shows an American soldier standing on an armored vehicle in the northern village of Darbasiyah, Syria

    Why Putin-Trump Meeting at G20 is a Breakthrough in the Syrian Conflict

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    2017 G20 Summit in Hamburg (113)
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    Much has been said about the first-ever personal meeting between Presidents Putin and Trump at the G20 summit in Hamburg. Even though there were no pompous declarations after the encounter, political analysts explain why the results of the talks are a real breakthrough with regards to the Syrian conflict.

    At their first face-to-face meeting in the German port city of Hamburg, the Russian and US Presidents pledged to ensure the implementation of the ceasefire in southwestern Syria, starting July 9.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson briefed journalists on the results of the Friday meeting, which was initially intended to take 30 minutes, but lasted for over two hours. They said that the two leaders had managed to give a logical continuation to Syria peace talks hosted by Astana, which wrapped up just a day before.

    Three ceasefire guarantor states, Russia, Turkey and Iran, with help of Jordan and the US as observers, have been trying to coordinate a whole range of specifics of the establishment of four de-escalation zones in Syria.

    "Experts from Russia, the United States and Jordan completed their work today in the capital of Jordan, Amman. They agreed a memorandum on the establishment of a de-escalation zone in southwestern Syria: in Daraa, Quneitra and As-Suwayda provinces, which will have a ceasefire in force from midday, Damascus time, on July 9," Lavrov told reporters immediately after the Trump-Putin meeting.

    Security around the country’s southwest will be provided by Russian military police in coordination with the Americans and Jordanians.

    Sergei Balmasov, an expert at the Middle East Institute at the Russian International Affairs Council explained that although the idea of the setup of the de-escalation zones in Syria belongs to Russia, Turkey and Iran, the US has, in fact, become one of the participants in the project. However the agreements between Russia and the US have a number of considerably influential opponents.

    Those include the Persian Gulf monarchies, first of, who are the main sponsors of the radical opposition in Syria, the political analyst told the news channel RT . These agreements bring no benefits to them as they realistically guarantee the retention of power, and not  mere survival, of President Assad. This puts an end to any attempts to oust him from power in the coming years.

    Stanislav Tarasov, a political analyst and specialist in Middle East studies, however, thinks that the main opponent to the agreements between Russia and the US is Iran, which fears the federalization of Syria, Iraq and potential federalization of Turkey because of the Kurdish factor. Moreover,  the US analysts had always planned to force their way into Iran on Kurdish shoulders, he said.

    The setup of the de-escalation zone in the southwest of Syria is connected with the position of Israel, the analysts said. Israel, they said, does not want Hezbollah and Iranian troops on its borders, and the safe zone is adjacent to the Golan Heights.

    Stanislav Tarasov suggested that a similar zone might be set up in the north of Syria, which will be initiated by Russia and Turkey. It will be something of a conundrum, when a NATO member state does not mind the presence of Russian contingent or Russian military police on its borders.

    From these points of view, the agreements on Syria between Presidents Putin and Trump are a real breakthrough and could be regarded as the main achievement of their first personal encounter, the expert concluded.

    Topic:
    2017 G20 Summit in Hamburg (113)
    Tags:
    safe zones, de-escalation, Syrian conflict, G20 summit in Hamburg, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Syria, United States, Russia
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