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Tripartite Agreement Includes 'Buffer Zone' Free of Iran

Tripartite Agreement Includes 'Buffer Zone' Free of Iran

Friday, 17 November, 2017 - 06:30
Syrian regime forces take aim at ISIS group jihadists south of the town of Al-Bab, in the northern province of Aleppo on January 14, 2016 (AFP Photo/George Ourfalian)

An agreement reached between the US, Russia and Jordan on a de-escalation zone in southern Syria uncovers an item stipulating that Moscow “immediately” removes “non-Syrian fighters,” in a sign to “Hezbollah” and Iranian militias, from a safe zone representing a middle ground of five kilometers between regime forces and opposition factions.

The text of the agreement obtained by Asharq Al-Awsat stipulates that Russia spreads 10 monitoring points and two search points in return of a pledge from Washington and Amman to immediately work with opposition factions for fighting ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and Qaeda at the separation line in the ceasefire area southwestern Syria.

The new agreement reached in the capital Amman between representatives from the US, Russia and Jordan to set up a temporary de-escalation zone in southern Syria and to back the ceasefire along the confrontation lines in the southwest, never mentioned “Hezbollah” and the Iranian militias by name.

However, the tripartite talks in Jordan were clearly tackling Tehran-linked militias fighting in Syria.

A US official had earlier asserted that the agreement “involves Iranian forces and militias backed by Tehran, including the Lebanese Hezbollah, in addition to foreign fundamentalist militias fighting with Jubhat al-Nusra and other extremist groups.”

However, a Russian official said that such explanation was “wrong.”

Western officials who received the text of the new agreement said that the most important item in the tripartite document is related to the establishment of a buffer zone free of foreign fighters, in a sign to “Hezbollah” and Iranian militias.

The text also asserts that no foreign intelligence is allowed in the designated “buffer zone,” based on maps attached to the text and probably located five kilometers adjacent to opposition-controlled areas in the countryside of Daraa, Sweida and Quneitra.

The tripartite agreement is based on seven principals similar to the texts of the “de-escalation zones” reached in Damascus’ Ghouta, the countryside of Homs and other areas.

The agreement, however, encompasses an item stipulating that local administrative councils remain in the area.

It also includes an item allowing the delivery of humanitarian aid and construction materials and a Jordanian pledge to open the border crossings with Syria.

Following the agreement in Amman, US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin informally had met on the sidelines of a regional economic summit in Vietnam early this month and agreed to an extensive statement on the conflict in Syria, reaffirming both leaders' commitment to defeat ISIS in the country, and the need to keep existing military communications open.

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