Russia sends a new military contingent to northwest Syria to help create a safe zone near Tal Rafaat.

The head of the Russian Federation’s main operational department of the General Staff, Sergei Rudskoy, announced on Wednesday the establishment of a de-escalation zone near the Syrian city of Tal Rafaat (about 38 kilometres north of Aleppo). The Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria will participate in the process, the Russian news agency Sputnik publishes.

In order to avoid provocations and possible clashes in northern Syria between the factions of the Syrian Free Army (ELS) and the Kurdish militia (…) a de-escalation zone has been established in Tal Rafaat,”the military leader said in announcing the deployment of Russian forces in the area.

At the same time, Rudskoy has said that “the Syrian government troops have replaced the Kurdish armed groups (supported by the US) that left this area.

Therefore, he added, the Russian Armed Forces have now deployed a military police unit in the de-escalation zone near Tal Rafaat in order to prevent possible provocations and maintain the cessation of hostilities regime.

In order to avoid provocations and possible clashes in northern Syria between the factions of the Syrian Free Army (ELS) and the Kurdish militia (…) a de-escalation zone has been established in Tal Rafaat,”said the head of the main operational department of the General Staff of the Russian Federation, Sergei Rudskoy

Rudskoy has also pointed out that the participants in the Astana (Kazakh capital) dialogues on Syria will take steps to coordinate forces controlling the four designated safe zones in Syrian territory, including the north-western province of Idlib.

In May, in the framework of the Astana negotiations, Iran, Turkey and Russia signed a memorandum for the creation of four safe zones in Syria – in Idlib, north of the city of Homs, in East Guta and in the south of the country. The initiative was endorsed by Syrian President Bashar al-Asad.