The European Commission on Tuesday expressed hope that a decision to form a demilitarized zone around Syria's Idlib will guarantee the “protection of civilian lives” and “unhindered and sustainable humanitarian access.”
“We expect that the agreement which was, according to reports, reached yesterday by the Russian and Turkish presidents will guarantee the protection of civilian lives and infrastructure as well as guarantee the unhindered and sustainable humanitarian access,” EC spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said in press briefing in Brussels.
Noting that the EU had previously warned that a military offensive on Idlib would risk resulting in a “humanitarian catastrophe”, Kocijancic called on the Astana guarantors to follow through with their commitment to safeguard the Idlib de-escalation zone.
The Astana peace process, a tripartite initiative to secure peace and stability in Syria, was brokered by Turkey, Russia and Iran.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had agreed with his Russian counterpart on Sept. 17 to establish a demilitarized zone around rebel-held Idlib in order to prevent a regime offensive on the region.