Turkey, Russia, Iran back Syria 'de-escalation zones'

 04 May 2017 - 19:09

Turkey, Russia, Iran back Syria 'de-escalation zones'
Russian mediator Alexander Lavrentiev, Iranian deputy foreign minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov and UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura attend the signing of a memorandum on creating safe zones in Syria during the fourth round of Syria peace talks in Astana on May 4, 2017. / AFP / Stanislav FILIPPOV

By Aliia Raimbekova | AA

ASTANA, Kazakhstan: Russia, Turkey and Iran signed a deal in the Kazakh capital, Astana, on Thursday to establish de-escalation zones in Syria.

Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov said the guarantor countries arrived at the decision following their talks.

The Astana talks, which were first convened in January, ran alongside the UN-backed discussions in Geneva.

Turkey, which backs the Syrian opposition, joined the Bashar al-Assad regime's allies Russia and Iran in sponsoring the negotiations after the assault on the Syrian city of Aleppo in December.

Syria has been locked in civil war since March 2011. According to the UN, around 400,000 people have died in the conflict while half the population has been driven away from their homes.

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Syria rebels return to peace talks

 04 May 2017 - 15:06

Syrian rebels on Thursday resumed participation in peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana centred around a Russian-backed plan to create safe zones in the war-battered country.