The proposal to establish four de-escalation zones was signed by Russia, Iran and Turkey, with the approval of the Syrian government having been received in May 2017 in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana.

The de-escalation zones, proposed by Russia, are aimed at separating extremist groups, including Islamic State terrorists (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Nusra Front), from the moderate opposition.

The three states “announce the creation of the de-escalation areas … in eastern Ghouta, in certain parts in the north of Homs province, in Idlib province and certain parts of the neighboring Latakia, Hama and Aleppo provinces and also in certain parts of southern Syria,” the statement, read by Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov, said, following the Astana-6 peace talks in the Kazakh capital on Friday.

The de-escalation zones aim to help “maintain the ceasefire, to ensure the territorial integrity of Syria and continue to fight terrorism,” the statement added.

They are “a temporary measure which will initially last 6 months and will be automatically extended on the basis of guarantors’ consensus,” according to the statement.

The initiative on the de-escalation zones does not “undermine the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria.”

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