Erdogan: De-escalation zones in Syria to solve 50% of Syrian crisis

Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo by Stringer/Getty Images)

The creation of de-escalation zones in Idlib and five other regions in Syria will resolve the regional conflict by half, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday.

“There is a proposal to create de-escalation zones in Idlib and five other Syrian regions. If this is done, then the Syrian issue will be solved by 50 percent,” Erdogan said aboard a plane returning from Russia, as quoted by the Hurriyet daily.

Erdogan held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Wednesday. The two leaders discussed bilateral relations, pressing issues of the international agenda, in particular, the Syrian crisis.

On Monday, Fatih Hassoun, a representative of the Syrian armed opposition, told Sputnik that Russia made proposals aimed at creating zones for de-escalation of tensions. According to the documents obtained by Sputnik, Russia proposed to set up security zones in Idlib province, to the north of the city of Homs, in Eastern Ghouta and in the south of the country.

Earlier in the day, a source in one of the delegations at the Syria talks in Astana told Sputnik that a document on the creation of the zones of de-escalation was almost finalized with ceasefire guarantor states (Russia, Iran and Turkey), with discussions ongoing on one provision only.

The new round of the Astana talks, which brings together the sides to the Syrian conflict – Damascus and armed opposition, as well as three ceasefire mediator states – Russia, Iran and Turkey, kicked off on Wednesday, while a meeting at the experts level took place on Tuesday.

The first three rounds of talks on the Syrian settlement brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran, were held in Kazakh capital of Astana on January 23-24, February 15-16 and March 14-15. During the talks, the participants agreed to set up a ceasefire monitoring group, among other points.