Astana process on Syria considers involving new members: Russian representative

Syrian northwestern city of Idlib

Syrian northwestern city of Idlib

Iran, Russia, and Turkey who initiated the talks between the Syrian government and the opposition are guarantors of the ceasefire.

The Syrian army regained territory from Islamic State in central and eastern Syria on Wednesday as ceasefire talks got under way again in Kazakhstan.

Assad has gained the military upper hand against an array of rebel groups, including some that have received backing from the United States, Turkey and Gulf monarchies.

Tahrir al-Sham criticized FSA rebels who have attended the Astana meetings, which began with Moscow-led diplomatic efforts separate from United Nations -based peace talks in Geneva.

Russia, Turkey and Iran have signed a deal to create de-escalation zones in several locations in Syria, including Idlib.

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Russian Federation has so far deployed military police to patrol the boundaries of three zones agreed in the south, in Eastern Ghouta near Damascus, and in part of the central Homs province.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari, speaking in Astana with Lebanon's al-Manar TV station, described the newly-agreed zones in Syria as a "secure cordon" with checkpoints.

The Jordan-Syrian border has been closed since 2015 after the Syrian army lost control of the Nassib crossing to Syrian rebels.

Turks consider such a move as yet another step in the creation of a Greater Kurdistan, a state that would encompass Kurdish regions in Iraq, Iran, and Turkey as well. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier noted progress on the issue, while previously he said that there had been difficulties with regard to the creation of the de-escalation zone.

Russia, Turkey and Iran have agreed to set up a co-ordination center to monitor the implementation of "de-escalation" zones in Syria.

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But Rahman said Damascus and Moscow "took advantage of the de-escalation zones to change the balance of power on the ground and have retaken double the territory they controlled before May".

De-escalation zones, proposed by Russian Federation, are aimed at separating extremist groups, including self-styled Islamic State terrorists and Jabhat al-Nusra from the moderate opposition.

He noted that the siege-breaking of Deir Ezzor has great significance in regard to the humanitarian and military situation, therefore, food and medicine convoys are entering the city with the aim of reducing the suffering of its inhabitants due to the terrorist siege imposed on the city over the last three years.

Syria has been embroiled in an nearly seven-year-long civil war that has killed at least 400,000 people according to the United Nations.

The deal laid out the areas where fighters and government forces should halt hostilities, including air raids, for six months.

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"We do not agree with that role", Hassoun said.

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