Russia, Iran and Turkey have collectively decided to begin a three-way mechanism in attempts to be compliant to the Syrian cease-fire talks that were finalized on Tuesday at an Astana, Kazakhstan meeting.
In a statement read by the Kazakhstan Foreign Minister, Kairat Abdrakhmanov, after the Tuesday session came to an end, Iran, Russia and Turkey reached an agreement “to observe and ensure full compliance with the cease-fire, prevent any provocations and determine all modalities of the cease-fire.” The Minister further stated that the three countries will continue with their joint efforts of fighting ISIS as well as al-Qaeda affiliated Jabhat Fath al-Sham group, the former Nusra Front.
Moscow and Ankara are the major power brokers in the signed agreement while Tehran is acting on behalf of the Syrian and rebels groups. It is reported that the rebel groups are yet to fully endorse the agreement, reports Telegraph.
A representative of the government, Bashar Jaafari, quickly termed the talks as a success. However, the opposition was concerned it had several reservations.
The rebels were against the inclusion of Iran in the deal, saying that the country could not be objective. They say that its proxies on the Syrian ground have from time to time violated the ceasefire.
They gave an example of Tehran-backed Lebanese Shia militia Hizbollah that has attacked Wadi Barada valley outside Damascus, despite the December 30 truce.
And even as the announced of the pact was being announced, the area was still under clashes, casting into doubt the enforcement of the deal.
An interesting twist into the matter is that not only Iran is unwanted in the deal, but also Russia. Asaad Hanna, a spokesman for the Free Syrian Army, told the Telegraph that rebels hold no trust in Russia. They will thus use this as a way of testing whether Russia has control over its allies.
This is one war that Iran has huge stakes at as it provides manpower needed to boost Bashar al-Assad’s government. Tehran has continuously been on the regime’s side so that it can enjoy a supply route through the country for Hizbollah in neighbouring Lebanon.
That is what basically makes the opposition believe Iran may not be committed to finding a solution for the country.
However, the deal raises hopes of peace one day being realized in Syria. A year ago, it seemed improbable the parties could seat down on a negotiation table.
Despite the two-day meeting having a rough start on Monday, it eventually picked up and bore some fruits.
The Syrian government had not agreed with meeting. Through its representative, the government said it was a gathering of “armed terrorist groups”.
Eventually, the Astana negotiations were brokered by Syrian government backers Russia and Iran as well as rebels supporter Turkey.
A new round of Syria peace talks is to take place in Geneva on Feb. 8.