All hostilities are expected to halt as of Saturday, May 6 in Syria’s four de-escalation zones. Under a memorandum signed by Russia, Iran and Turkey in Astana on May 4, the four zones are Idlib province and some parts of neighboring provinces (Aleppo, Latakia and Hama), an area north of Homs, Damascus’s suburb Eastern Ghouta, and a number of provinces in southern Syria – Deraa and Al-Quneitra.
All flights by military aircraft, including Syria’s air strikes against terrorists are outlawed. The guarantor countries will take all necessary measures to fight against terrorism inside and around these territories.
“We will be prepared to end combat operations there, but only if there are no attempts at destabilization,” the chief Russian delegate at negotiations on Syria in Astana, special presidential representative for Syrian settlement Aleksandr Lavrentiev said.
On the borders of de-escalation zones special security belts and checkpoints will be created for civilians and humanitarian aid convoys and ceasefire monitoring posts.
Ten days after the signing of the memorandum (by May 14) the guarantors of truce will create a joint working group for de-escalation responsible for drawing the borders of de-escalation zones and the security belts. The maps are to be finalized by May 27.
The memorandum was concluded for six months with chances of automatic prolongation for another six months. Lavrentiev said the document might become open-ended.
The de-escalation zones in Syria will be closed to the aircraft of the United States and the coalition it leads.
“There are absolutely no arrangements for the operation of aircraft, in particular, those of the coalition, with or without notification. The subject is closed,” he said. “The coalition’s aircraft may attack Islamic State targets (IS is a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia). The aviation is deployed in the area where forces of that group are concentrated near Raqqa, other localities, and in the area of Euphrates and Deir ez-Zor.”
“As for their operations in the de-escalation zones, all of these are currently closed to flights,” Lavrentiev said.
He added that the de-escalation memorandum said nothing about that but all flights over them were to be stopped.
“As guarantors we will see to it,” Lavrentiev said.