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Crisis in Syria

Russia, Iran, and Turkey agree to implement de-escalation zones in Syria

Russia, Iran, and Turkey agreed on May 4 to organize four "de-escalation zones" in Syria, documents released by the Russian foreign ministry on Saturday revealed, maintaining the areas for at least six months.

The zones are mostly in opposition-held territory and are intended to offer some respite from the brutal violence of Syria's six-year civil war. The largest zone is expected to include Idlib province, the site of last month's chemical weapons attack, though maps will be finalized in the coming month.

If successful, the zones will facilitate humanitarian aid and a degree of normalcy for civilians. The Bashar al-Assad regime, which is allied with Russia and Iran, said it would respect the agreement but also promised to continue fighting the opposition's "terrorism" wherever possible. The Turkish-allied rebels criticized the zones for not including all of Syria and said the deal was reached without adequate opposition input.