Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Jordan’s capital Amman for a scheduled meeting with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi regarding ongoing efforts by Moscow, Amman and Washington to create an additional de-escalation zone in the southwest of Syria, which borders the Hashemite Kingdom, not far from the border with Israel. Minister Lavrov said following the meeting, “We discussed the situation related to creation of the de-escalation zone in southwestern Syria in accordance with initiatives submitted during the Astana talks – I mean the southern zone which has been agreed through cooperation between Russia, Jordan and the U.S. We expressed our support to resolve all the issues related to its effective operation in a trilateral format. We also agreed on the upcoming contacts in regard to this issue,” Lavrov revealed.
The zone, which was agreed upon by Amman, Moscow and Washington aims to provide a safe-haven for the residents of southwestern Syria, and seeks to thwart any militias – both Jihadists or Iranian proxies – from taking hold of the territory, as both Israel and Jordan warned of dangerous consequences. Foreign Minister Safadi said, The national Jordanian interest highlights a number of issues and first of all to have our borders secured and this means that there will be no presence of Daesh (Islamic State) or Nusra or any sectarian militias on these borders. We want to have all the foreign troops out from Syria and we want to have Syria returned to be a safe independent and stable country that has its own sovereignty, its own decision-making and to achieve peace and security for the Syrian people. This is what we want,” the Jordanian top diplomat emphasized.
Previous similar de-escalation zones have failed to hold for long and it was not yet clear how much the actual combatants — Assad’s government and the main Syrian rebel forces in the southwest of the war-torn country – are committed to this latest effort.