Moscow rejects Syrian opposition’s Homs truce proposal

Moscow rejects Syrian opposition’s Homs truce proposal

HOMS/ ANKARA
Moscow rejects Syrian opposition’s Homs truce proposal

Russia on May 2 turned down a proposal by Syrian opposition factions for a cease-fire in the northern countryside of Homs province, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported on May 2.

If accepted, the deal would allow opposition factions to retain their positions in the area without surrendering their arms, well-informed sources reportedly said.

The proposal, which was made at a May 1 meeting between opposition representatives and Russian officials in Homs, reportedly called for a cease-fire and the reopening of the region’s main thoroughfares 

Moscow, however, rejected the offer, insisting that Syrian regime forces be given “total control” of the region and that opposition fighters surrender all heavy weapons in return for being granted safe exit from the area, according to the sources.

The same sources also noted that Russian negotiators had given opposition fighters until noon May 2 to respond to their terms, but the opposition groups involved soundly rejected the Russian counterproposal.

Turkey is not a “mediator” in the negotiations, a Foreign Ministry official told the Hürriyet Daily News. The region is part of one of the “de-escalation zones” declared in the Astana process overseen by Turkey, Russia and Iran, the official said, adding that Turkey conveyed to Russia its view that this deal “should be preserved and parties should refrain from steps that will corrode it.”

The official was referring to a phone conversation between Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, as well as a recent meeting of the foreign ministers of Iran, Turkey and Russia in Moscow on April 28.

Russia, Syria, Homs, Moscow, Turkey, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Iran