According to the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, Turkey, Russia and Iran work on setting up a new de-escalation zone – in Syria’s Afrin.
“We are now taking joint moves with Iran and Russia to establish a de-escalation zone in the area of the Syrian city of Afrin in the north of the country,” the prime minister said.
Meanwhile, the Turkiye newspaper reported at the end of June that the Turkish Armed Forces had finished preparations for a ground operation against Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) (which Ankara sees as an extension of Kurdistan Workers’ Party) in Afrin canton in Syria’s north. Former Defense Minister Fikri Isik, who is currently Deputy Prime Minister, did not rule out the possibility of such operation. Moreover, Turkey has been redeploying military hardware to the border with Syria for the recent few months.
Starting from May, four de-escalation zones are being set up in Syria in line with an agreement reached in Astana by representatives of ceasefire guarantor states Russia, Iran and Turkey. Now de-escalation zones include Idlib province, some parts of its neighboring areas in Latakia, Hama and Aleppo provinces north of the city of Homs, Eastern Ghouta, as well as Daraa and al-Quneitra provinces in southern Syria. Starting from May 6, military activities and aircraft flights in the de-escalation zones are banned.