De-Escalation Zones in Syria Will Hopefully Lead to Separating Opposition from Daesh, Jabhat al-Nusra and Their Affiliated Groups

DAMASCUS, (ST)- The Syrian government supports the memorandum on the establishment of de-escalation zones signed in the latest Astana meeting on Syria, Deputy Premier, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Walid al-Moallem has stressed.

In a press conference in Damascus on Monday, al-Moallem said the Syrian government supported the creation of four de-escalation areas in the country starting from its keenness on stopping the shedding of the Syrian blood and improving the living conditions of the citizens. He hoped that the armed groups will also commit themselves to the provisions of the memorandum.

  “We are committed to the provisions of the memorandum, but if it is breached by any group, the response will be decisive,” affirmed al-Moallem, adding that “this memorandum will hopefully lead to separating the opposition groups which signed the cessation of hostilities agreement on December 30, 2016, from Jabhat al-Nusra and its allied groups in addition to Daesh”.

But, al-Moallem clarified that “it is early to talk about the success of implementing this memorandum, while there are still logistic details that need to be discussed in Damascus, besides, we will see to what extent other parties will be committed to the memorandum’s implementation.”

He pointed out that a Security Council meeting to discuss a Russian draft resolution to adopt this memorandum would test the intentions of the member countries, particularly the permanent member states.

Geneva process

Regarding the political track to find a solution to the crisis in Syria, al-Moallem said the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic is always present in Geneva meetings on Syria, pointing out that no date was fixed for the next round of talks.

He regretted the fact the Geneva process has not achieved progress yet, because of the absence of true national opposition side that is keen on Syria’s interest instead of getting orders from its masters.


He went on to say that Syria is pressing ahead with national reconciliation and is making progress in this domain in several areas, noting today’s reconciliation in Barzeh area which is to be followed by another one in al-Qaboun and which coincides with the ongoing talks aiming to evacuate al-Yarmouk Camp from gunmen.

“I think that the Syrian citizens have felt the importance and effectiveness of these reconciliations,” al-Moallem added.

No deployment of international Forces in de-escalation zones

Replying a question on the presence of international forces in the de-escalation zones, al-Moallem stressed that “no international forces under UN supervision are to be deployed in the de-escalation zones. The Russian guarantor has clarified that these zones will witness the deployment of military police forces as well as monitoring centers.”

 He said the duration of memorandum is six months that can be extended if this experience proves to be a success and if it achieves the hoped for goals.

Fate of armed groups

On the fate of the gumen in the de-escalation zones in the light of the presence of Jabhat al-Nusra there, Al-Moallem clarified that Jabhat al-Nusra has presence in all the proposed de-escalation zones.

“There are groups that signed the agreement and there is Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS terrorist organizations and other terrorist groups linked to them. What is required is separating the terrorist groups which signed the cessation of hostilities agreement from those which didn’t and will not sign, like Jabhat al-Nusra. These groups must leave those zones," al-Moallem said.

He added that in order to achieve actual de-escalation in targeted areas, armed groups, which signed the cessation of hostilities agreement, should work to expel Jabhat al-Nusra from these areas and the guarantor countries should support these groups in this issue.

Concerning the remarks made by the Jordanian government spokesman that his country will defend its borders inside the Syrian territories if it is necessary, al-Moallem said "we know the role played by Jordan from the very beginning of the crisis in Syria, including through the Military Operations Command (MOC).

 “I think that these remarks are far from  reality. Any way, we aren't thinking of any confrontation with Jordan now, but if the Jordanian forces entered our lands without coordination with the Syrian government we will consider these forces as hostile,” al-Moallem added.

French Policy

On the possibility of a shift in the French policy on Syria after the results of the French presidential elections, al-Moallem said "we respect the choice of the French people. We don't count on a European role so how we will count on a French role. As you remember, in 2011, I deleted Europe from the map and since then it has never appeared.  Europe has played a destructive role in the crisis in Syria by supporting terrorism . Besides, Europe is an automatic subordinate to the United States will."

Al-Moallem stressed that  the United States keep announcing that it supports the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces which is fighting Daesh.

"We believe that what the Kurdish citizens in Syria are doing to fight Daesh is legitimate within the framework of keenness on Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty," al-Moallem said, affirming that the Syrian sovereignty was unquestionable and was not a matter for discussion.

 Hamda Mustafa