Issue Brief on “Intra Syrian Talks – Round Four: Grappling with Peace”

The fourth round of intra-Syrian talks were held in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana from May 3 to 4. Delegations of the ceasefire guarantor states, Russia, Iran and Turkey took part in the negotiations alongside the Syrian government delegation and representatives of the Syrian armed opposition, the United Nations, United States and Jordan.

The diplomatic talks have resulted in an agreement to establish safe zones in Syria in what is hoped will be a big step toward peace in the battle-weary country. A memorandum on the creation of four security zones in Syria was signed during the talks. The Russian Foreign Ministry released the official document on May 6, titled “Memorandum on the creation of de-escalation areas in the Syrian Arab Republic.[1] These safe zones are primarily meant to help distinguish between extremist groups, including Islamic State terrorists (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Nusra Front), from the armed opposition groups.

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