For Syria will look into four zones

For Syria will look into four zones

Russia proposes to create in Syria’s four security zones. This was yesterday in talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared Russian President Vladimir Putin a day earlier to discuss this initiative with the head of the White house Donald trump. According to the Russian leader, the appearance of these zones will help to stop the bloodshed in Syria will help launch political dialogue. The Russian authorities hope that the Memorandum on the establishment of a de-escalation will be signed today in Astana during the new round of inter-Syrian negotiations in which in addition to Russia, representatives of two more intermediary countries (Turkey and Iran). From the draft document at the disposal of “Kommersant”, in particular, it follows that on the boundary line around areas of security can be posted foreign troops. The opinions of respondents ‘ b ‘ experts about the prospects of the Russian initiative were divided.

Four zones

A new initiative aimed at resolving the Syrian conflict, Vladimir Putin spoke at a press conference after talks with Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi. According to the Russian President, he’s already discussed the idea of creating Syria safe zones with Donald trump — and he supported it. Consultations on this issue, Moscow also held with Damascus and Tehran. “We all believe that we need to create mechanisms that would guarantee an end to the bloodshed and create conditions for a political dialogue,” — said Vladimir Putin.

Russian authorities hope that the Memorandum on the establishment of a de-escalation in the Syrian Arab Republic (SAR) will be signed in Astana yesterday launched the inter-Syrian negotiations, the mediators which are Russia, Turkey and Iran. Participate in the negotiations and representatives of observer countries, including the United States. Washington at this time seriously increased the level of participation in the Astana format: country first presented by the assistant Secretary, while the three previous rounds of consultations, the Americans had sent only its Ambassador to Kazakhstan.

At the disposal of “Kommersant” was a three-page draft Memorandum, which Russia submitted for consideration by the negotiating parties. The document said that the guarantors of the cease-fire in Syria are Russia, Turkey and Iran, “confirming its commitment to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the SAR”.

“Zone mitigate escalation” (as stated in the Arabic version), or “areas de-escalation” (in English), it is proposed to establish in Idlib province, North of HOMS, Eastern ghouta and in the South of Syria.

The exact coordinates of these zones should be determined by the guarantor countries to 22 may. To do this, within five days after the signing of the Memorandum must be created by the working group.

It is expected that inside the four “Islands of security” will be denied the use of any weapons, humanitarian organizations will be created all conditions for work, measures will be taken to restore basic social infrastructure, water and other utilities. The authors of the Memorandum I hope that the organization of zones of de-escalation will allow you to resume the work of the authorities and create conditions for the return of refugees.

Along the borders of the zones of de-escalation is expected to create the demarcation line (in the document they just called security zones) “to prevent attacks between the conflicting parties.” There should be checkpoints for the passage of civilians, delivery of goods and humanitarian aid.

The document says that the security zones, ie on the demarcation line, can be posted foreign troops. From Arabic and English version of the Memorandum is not entirely clear about which countries you are talking as Russia, Turkey and Iran they all are referred to as “guarantors”, and in this place speaks of “the countries-observers.”

The head of the Federation Council Committee on defense and security Viktor Ozerov told “Kommersant” has not excluded that the zone can be entered part of the military police of the Russian Federation. According to him, the Russian military, in particular, could maintain order, patrol the streets together with the Syrian police, not interfering into civilian life. “I think that Russia and the United States agree, will outline the areas of the world that from the air no one was approaching, and they will control the resolution of the UN do not want this, — he said.— And the rest of Syria will continue the military action against the terrorists.”

According to adviser to the Director of the Russian Institute of strategic studies Elena Suponina, clarity in composition of an international force that will provide security of the perimeter of the four zones in Syria, yet. “Consider different options,” she told Kommersant, adding that speech can go as about the involvement of the contingents of the Russian Federation, Turkey and Iran and the involvement of countries that do not participate in military operations in Syria.

Bad experience

Experience creating internal security zones, the world has, but successful it is not. One of the most unsuccessful was an attempt to secure thus Bosnian Muslims. The number of international forces operating under UN auspices, was too small to protect the local population (12 million people). As a result, in 1995 tragedy in Srebrenica, when the Dutch contingent could not and did not even try to prevent the mass murder of Serbs army of 8 thousand Bosnian Muslims.

Another problem was the limited mandate of the international forces. Protecting mainly enclaves of Bosnian Muslims from the army of the Serbs, these forces are almost not engaged in the removal of weapons from the population. So armed the Muslims have made of these areas of attacks on the Serbian troops, and then returned under the protection of international forces.

Interviewed by “b” Syrian opposition however the initiative of Moscow welcomed. “Judging by the first signals that all parties agree on the need to establish such zones, — said “Kommersant” the Chairman of the “Moscow” opposition groups, the head of the “National front for change and liberation” Qadri Jamil.— Their presence can actually reduce the bloodshed and to create favorable conditions for the political settlement process”.

The representative of the Syrian national Committee Mahmoud al-Hamza, also told “Kommersant” that a positive attitude to this initiative: “Any step to reducing violence is to be applauded. Our people are tired of bloodshed. What matters is that at the same time, international mediators are not stopped and brought the matter to a political settlement that would meet the interests of all Syrians, not just the regime.”

Head of the Centre for Arab and Islamic studies, Institute of Oriental studies, Vasily Kuznetsov recalled, “Kommersant” that some time ago with a proposal to create a “no-fly zones” in Syria by the US, while the government of Turkey offered to organize the Turkish-Syrian border areas for refugees. Moscow, however, these proposals were perceived with hostility, fearing that under the pretext of humanitarian operations Washington and Ankara will provide support to the Syrian opposition.

The Russian proposal, he said, might work, but there are many “gotchas.” “First, the relationship between the three guarantor countries are quite complex and moving. Second, much will depend on how faithfully fulfil the terms of the agreement the Syrian side. And thirdly, it is important that the appearance of these areas was accompanied by political negotiations, or the presence of foreign enclaves under the protection of a detrimental impact on the Syrian state,” — said the interlocutor of Kommersant.

According to the expert of the International Crisis Group, Noah, Bonsi to the idea of security zones to work, mediators need to avoid mistakes that led to the breakdown of previous truce deal in Syria.

“In particular, it is necessary to take into account the factor of influence “Tahrir al-sham” (the terrorist group, created on the basis of the former “dzhebhat an-Nusra.”— “Kommersant”). She was excluded from the attempts to establish a truce, which allowed it to act as a spoiler, and the Syrian authorities — to use the imaginary or real presence in certain regions to continue the offensive on government-controlled moderate opposition territory,” — he explained “Kommersant”.

Meanwhile, the operating Director of the international organization “Doctors without borders” (MSF) Brice de La Vigne warns: zones of de-escalation should not replace the “right of the people to the possibility of obtaining asylum outside the country”. “Today, large segments of the Syrian border are closed by neighboring countries. Men, women and children are there actually trapped in their country there is a brutal war, but they have nowhere to run. This is absolutely unacceptable — he said “Kommersant”.— Moreover, in accordance with international law, warring parties must avoid casualties among the civilian population, and this rule should apply not only in special areas, otherwise the civilians outside would be nobody is protected”.

Georgy Stepanov, Elena Chernenko, Eugene Tail, Natalia Gorodetskaya, Gennady Sysoyev