Next round of Syria talks set for Sept. 14-15: Kazakhstan

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura (left) and Russian mediator Alexander Lavrentiev attend the fourth round of Syria peace talks in Astana on May 4, 2017.

:: A new round of talks on the conflict in Syria will be held in Astana on September 14-15, Kazakhstan announced on Friday, with key powers looking to shore up safe zones on the ground.

Russia and Iran, which back the Syrian regime, and opposition supporter Turkey will look to work out more details of the “de-escalation zones”, including the thorny issue of who will police the northern Idlib region, the Kazakh foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The participants also intend to confirm the maps of the de-escalation zones in the provinces of Idlib, Homs and Eastern Ghouta,” it said.

Fourth zone

The statement did not mention a fourth zone in the south of Syria, where Israel and the United States have been wary about seeing Iran involved after a ceasefire was agreed between Moscow and Washington in July.

Russia has already deployed military police to the zone in the south; in Eastern Ghouta near Damascus; and in part of Homs under the safe zone deals.

Moscow has been spearheading the Astana peace talks since the start of the year in a bid to pacify Syria after its game-changing intervention on the side of President Bashar al-Assad.

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