Full Text of Agreements on
This document contains the full text of various agreements for a ceasefire in
Syria during 2016 and 2017.
Cessation of Hostilities
in Syrian Civil War
I added paragraph numbers in square brackets to allow precise citations.
- On 22 February 2016, Russia and the USA drafted an agreement for
"Cessation of Hostilities" in Syria, in anticipation of peace
negotiations in Geneva.
- At about 16:00 EST (23:00 Damascus time) on
26 February 2016, the United Nations
Security Council in Resolution 2268 unanimously endorsed the Russian/USA
draft cessation of hostilities agreement.
- On 9 May 2016, Russia and the USA issued a statement
about re-affirming the Cessation of Hostilities agreement.
- On the night of 9 Sep 2016, Russia and the USA reached
a new Cessation of Hostilities agreement.
- On 29 Dec 2016, Russia and Turkey negotiated a ceasefire
with Assad and seven insurgent groups.
- On 24 Jan 2017, Russia, Turkey, and Iran issued a
joint statement at the conclusion of so-called negotiations between
Assad's government and insurgent groups.
- On 4 May 2017, Russia, Turkey, and Iran issued a
three-page memorandum that created four safe zones in Syria.
22 Feb 2016
On 22 February 2016, the U.S. State Department posted a statement and
draft agreement at its website. The full text appears below.
Cessation of Hostilities
- [¶ 1] The United States of America and the Russian Federation, as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) and seeking to achieve a peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis with full respect for the fundamental role of the United Nations, are fully determined to provide their strongest support to end the Syrian conflict and establish conditions for a successful Syrian-led political transition process, facilitated by the UN, in order to fully implement the Munich Statement of the ISSG on February 11th, 2016, UN Security Council Resolution 2254, the 2015 Vienna Statements and the 2012 Geneva Communiqué.
[¶ 2] In this regard, and in furtherance of the February 11th decisions of the ISSG, the United States and Russia, as co-chairs of the ISSG and ISSG Ceasefire Task Force, announce the adoption on February 22, 2016, of the Terms for a Cessation of Hostilities in Syria attached as an Annex to this statement, and propose that the cessation of hostilities commence at 00:00 (Damascus time) on February 27, 2016.
The cessation of hostilities is to be applied to those parties to the Syrian conflict that have indicated their commitment to and acceptance of its terms.
Consistent with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and the statements of the ISSG, the cessation of hostilities does not apply to “Daesh”, “Jabhat al-Nusra”, or other terrorist organizations designated by the UN Security Council.
[¶ 3] Any party engaged in military or para-military hostilities in Syria, other than “Daesh”, “Jabhat al-Nusra”, or other terrorist organizations designated by the UN Security Council will indicate to the Russian Federation or the United States, as co-chairs of the ISSG, their commitment to and acceptance of the terms for the cessation of hostilities by no later than 12:00 (Damascus time) on February 26, 2016.
In order to implement the cessation of hostilities in a manner that promotes stability and protects those parties participating in it, the Russian Federation and the United States are prepared to work together to exchange pertinent information (e.g., aggregated data that delineates territory where groups that have indicated their commitment to and acceptance of the cessation of hostilities are active, and a focal point for each side, in order to ensure effective communication) and develop procedures necessary for preventing parties participating in the cessation of hostilities from being attacked by Russian Armed Forces, the U.S.-led Counter ISIL Coalition, the Armed Forces of the Syrian government and other forces supporting them, and other parties to the cessation of hostilities.
Military actions, including airstrikes, of the Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic, the Russian Armed Forces, and the U.S.-led Counter ISIL Coalition will continue against ISIL, “Jabhat al-Nusra,” and other terrorist organizations designated by the UN Security Council.
The Russian Federation and United States will also work together, and with other members of the Ceasefire Task Force, as appropriate and pursuant to the ISSG decision of February 11, 2016, to delineate the territory held by "Daesh," "Jabhat al-Nusra" and other terrorist organizations designated by the UN Security Council, which are excluded from the cessation of hostilities.
[¶ 4] In order to promote the effective implementation of the cessation of hostilities, the ISSG Ceasefire Task Force, co-chaired by the United States and Russia, has been established under UN auspices, including political and military officials from the co-chairs and other Task Force members; the UN Office of the Special Envoy for Syria (OSE) serves as secretariat.
The primary functions of the Task Force are, as provided in the ISSG Statement of February 11, to:
- delineate the territory held by “Daesh”, “Jabhat-al-Nusra” and other terrorist organizations designated by the United Nations Security Council;
- ensure communications among all parties to promote compliance and rapidly de-escalate tensions;
- resolve allegations of non-compliance; and
- refer persistent non-compliant behavior by any of the parties to the ISSG Ministers or those designated by the Ministers to determine appropriate action,
including the exclusion of such parties from the arrangements of the cessation of hostilities, and the protection it affords them.
[¶ 5] The United States and Russia are prepared, in their capacities as co-chairs of the Ceasefire Task Force and in coordination with other members of the ISSG Ceasefire Task Force as appropriate, to develop effective mechanisms to promote and monitor compliance with the ceasefire both by the governmental forces of the Syrian Arab Republic and other forces supporting them, and the armed opposition groups.
To achieve this goal and to promote an effective and sustainable cessation of hostilities, the Russian Federation and the United States will establish a communication hotline and, if necessary and appropriate, a working group to exchange relevant information after the cessation of hostilities has gone into effect. In addressing incidents of non-compliance, every effort should be made to promote communications among all parties to restore compliance and rapidly de-escalate tensions, and non-forcible means should be exhausted whenever possible before resorting to use of force.
The United States and Russia as co-chairs of ISSG Ceasefire Task Force will develop such further modalities and standard operating procedures as may be necessary to implement these functions.
[¶ 6] The United States and the Russian Federation together call upon all Syrian parties, regional states and others in the international community to support the immediate cessation of violence and bloodshed in Syria and to contribute to the swift, effective and successful promotion of the UN-facilitated political transition process in accordance with
U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254,
the February 11  Statement of the ISSG,
the 2015 Vienna statements of the ISSG, and
the 2012 Geneva Communiqué.
TERMS FOR CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES IN SYRIA
- [¶ A] The nationwide cessation of hostilities is to apply to any party currently engaged in military or paramilitary hostilities against any other parties other than “Daesh”, “Jabhat al-Nusra”, or other terrorist organizations designated by the UN Security Council.
[¶ B] The responsibilities of the Syrian armed opposition are set out in paragraph 1 below.
The responsibilities of the Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic, and all forces supporting or associated with the Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic are set out in paragraph 2 below.
1. To take part in the cessation of hostilities, armed opposition groups will confirm — to the United States of America or the Russian Federation, who will attest such confirmations to one another as co-chairs of the ISSG by no later than 12:00 (Damascus time) on February 26 2016 — their commitment to and acceptance of the following terms:
2. The above-mentioned commitments will be observed by such armed opposition groups, provided that the Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic, and all forces supporting or associated with the Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic have confirmed to the Russian Federation as co-chair of the ISSG by no later than 12:00 (Damascus time) on February 26, 2016 their commitment to and acceptance of the following terms:
- To full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2254, adopted unanimously on December 18, 2015, — including the readiness to participate in the UN-facilitated political negotiation process;
- To cease attacks with any weapons, including rockets, mortars, and anti-tank guided missiles, against Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic, and any associated forces;
- To refrain from acquiring or seeking to acquire territory from other parties to the ceasefire;
- To allow humanitarian agencies, rapid, safe, unhindered and sustained access throughout areas under their operational control and allow immediate humanitarian assistance to reach all people in need;
- To proportionate use of force (i.e., no greater than required to address an immediate threat) if and when responding in self-defense.
- To full implementation of UN Security Resolution 2254, adopted unanimously on December 18, 2015, including the readiness to participate in the UN-facilitated political negotiation process;
- To cease attacks with any weapons, including aerial bombardments by the Air Force of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Aerospace Forces of the Russian Federation, against the armed opposition groups (as confirmed to the United States or the Russian Federation by parties to the cessation of hostilities);
- To refrain from acquiring or seeking to acquire territory from other parties to the ceasefire;
- To allow humanitarian agencies, rapid, unhindered and sustained access throughout areas under their operational control and allow immediate humanitarian assistance to reach all people in need;
- To proportionate use of force (i.e., no greater than required to address an immediate threat) if and when responding in self-defense.
[¶ C] The Russian Federation and the United States, as co-chairs of the ISSG and ISSG Ceasefire Task Force, are prepared to work together to ensure effective communications and develop procedures necessary for preventing parties participating in the cessation of hostilities from being attacked by Russian Armed Forces, the U.S.-led Counter ISIL Coalition, the Armed Forces of the Syrian government and other forces supporting them, and other parties to the cessation of hostilities.
[¶ D] All parties further commit to work for the early release of detainees, particularly women and children.
[¶ E] Any party can bring a violation or potential violation of the cessation of hostilities to the attention of the Task Force, either through the OSE or the co-chairs.
The OSE and Co-Chairs will establish liaison arrangements with each other and the parties, and inform the public generally about how any party may bring a violation to the attention of the Task Force.
[¶ F] The United States and the Russian Federation as co-chairs confirm that the cessation of hostilities will be monitored in an impartial and transparent manner and with broad media coverage.
- "Joint Statement of the United States and the Russian Federation, as Co-Chairs of the ISSG, on Cessation of Hostilities in Syria,"
U.S. State Dept.,
22 Feb 2016. [In ¶4 formatting of the four items as an indented list added by Standler.]
26 Feb 2016
U.N. Security Council Resolution 2268
Official copy at U.N..
- The Security Council,
[¶ A] Recalling its resolutions 2042 (2012), 2043 (2012), 2118 (2013), 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2170 (2014), 2175 (2014), 2178 (2014), 2191 (2014), 2199 (2015), 2235 (2015), 2249 (2015), 2253 (2015), 2254 (2015) and 2258 (2015), and Presidential Statements of 3 August 2011 (S/PRST/2011/16), 21 March 2012 (S/PRST/2012/6), 5 April 2012 (S/PRST/2012/10), 2 October 2013 (S/PRST/2013/15), 24 April 2015 (S/PRST/2015/10) and 17 August 2015 (S/PRST/2015/15),
[¶ B] Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, and to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,
[¶ C] Recognizing the efforts of the Secretary-General in implementing resolution 2254 (2015) and noting, through his good offices and by his Special Envoy for Syria, the launch of the formal negotiations on a political transition process, consistent with paragraph 2 of resolution 2254 (2015), on 29 January 2016,
[¶ D] Commending the commitment of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) to ensure a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition based on the Geneva communiqué of 30 June 2012 in its entirety and to immediately facilitate the full implementation of resolution 2254 (2015), and emphasizing the urgency for all parties in Syria to work diligently and constructively towards this goal,
[¶ E] Welcoming the ISSG statement of 11 February 2016, including the establishment of an ISSG humanitarian task force and an ISSG ceasefire task force,
1. Endorses in full the Joint Statement of the United States and the Russian Federation, as Co-Chairs of the ISSG, on Cessation of Hostilities in Syria of 22 February 2016 and the Terms for the Cessation of Hostilities in Syria (hereafter referred to as ‘the Annex’) attached to the Statement, and demands the cessation of hostilities to begin at 00:00 (Damascus time) on 27 February 2016;
2. Demands the full and immediate implementation of resolution 2254 (2015) to facilitate a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition, in accordance with the Geneva communiqué as set forth in the ISSG Statements, in order to end the conflict in Syria, and stresses again that the Syrian people will decide the future of Syria;
3. Demands that all parties to whom the cessation of hostilities applies as set forth in the Annex (hereafter referred to as the “parties to the cessation of hostilities”) fulfil their commitments laid out in the Annex, and urges all Member States, especially ISSG members, to use their influence with the parties to the cessation of hostilities to ensure fulfilment of those commitments and to support efforts to create conditions for a durable and lasting ceasefire;
4. Recognizes the efforts of the Russian Federation and the United States to reach understanding on the Terms of the Cessation of Hostilities, and acknowledges and welcomes that the forces of the Syrian Government and those supporting it, as communicated to the Russian Federation, and the Syrian armed opposition groups, as communicated to the Russian Federation or the United States, have accepted and committed to abide by the Terms of the Cessation of Hostilities, and as such are now parties to it;
5. Reiterates its call on the parties to immediately allow humanitarian agencies rapid, safe and unhindered access throughout Syria by most direct routes, allow immediate, humanitarian assistance to reach all people in need, in particular in all besieged and hard-to-reach areas, and immediately comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law as applicable;
6. Expresses support for the ISSG initiative, coordinated through the ISSG humanitarian working group, to accelerate the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid, with the view towards the full, sustained, and unimpeded access throughout the country, including to Deir ez Zor, Foah, Kafraya, Az-Zabadani, Madaya/Bqin, Darayya, Madamiyet Elsham, Duma, East Harasta, Arbin, Zamalka, Kafr Batna, Ein Terma, Hammuria, Jisrein, Saqba, Zabadin, Yarmuk, eastern and western rural Aleppo, Azaz, Afrin, At Tall, Rastan, Talbiseh, Al Houle, Tier Malah/Al Gantho/Der Kabira, Al Waer, Yalda, Babila and Beit Saham;
7. Reaffirms its support for a Syrian-led political process facilitated by the United Nations, requests the Secretary-General, through his good offices and the efforts of his Special Envoy for Syria, to resume the formal negotiations between the representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition, under the auspices of the United Nations, as soon as possible, and urges the representatives of the Syrian Government and the Syrian opposition to engage in good faith in these negotiations;
8. Welcomes the cessation of hostilities as a step towards a lasting ceasefire and reaffirms the close linkage between a ceasefire and a parallel political process, pursuant to the 2012 Geneva communiqué, and that both initiatives should move ahead expeditiously as expressed in resolution 2254 (2015);
9. Calls on all states to use their influence with the Government of Syria and the Syrian opposition to advance the peace process, confidence-building measures, including the early release of any arbitrarily detained persons, particularly women and children, and implementation of the cessation of hostilities;
10. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the implementation of this resolution, including by drawing on information provided by the ISSG ceasefire taskforce, and on resolution 2254 (2015), within 15 days of the adoption of this resolution and every 30 days thereafter;
11. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.
- "Security Council Unanimously Endorses Syria Cessation of Hostilities Accord, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2268 (2016),"
26 Feb 2016.
9 May 2016
On 29 April 2016, owing to concern about a deteriorating Cessation of Hostilities
(CoH) agreement in parts of Syria, Russia and the USA announced a "silence regime"
— also translated as "regime of calm" —
in Latakia province and the Damascus suburb of Ghouta.
On 4 May 2016, the "silence regime" was extended to the city of Aleppo.
On 9 May 2016, Russia and the USA issued the following Joint Statement
on the reaffirmation of the Cessation of Hostilities agreement.
Joint Statement Russia & USA
- [¶0] The Russian Federation and the United States of America, as co-chairs of the
International Syria Support Group (ISSG), recognize the progress that has been made
with respect to the cessation of hostilities (CoH) in Syria, in accordance with our
Joint Statement of February 22, 2016, and in improving humanitarian access.
We believe our joint efforts have brought about a significant decrease in violence
in the areas of North Latakia and East Ghouta. However, we also recognize the
difficulties faced by the CoH in several areas of the country, especially in the
recent period, as well as remaining problems in ensuring humanitarian access to the
besieged areas. As a result, we have decided to reconfirm our commitment to the CoH
in Syria and to intensify efforts to ensure its nation-wide implementation.
We also intend to enhance efforts to promote humanitarian assistance to all people
in need in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254.
Cessation of Hostilities
The co-chairs re-affirm our commitment to the nationwide CoH that went into effect on
February 27 across Syria, and have decided to pursue the following measures to
Ensuring Humanitarian Access
- Recognizing challenges related to the CoH in certain areas the co-chairs have re-emphasized the terms of the COH with field commanders on all sides, especially in Aleppo, Eastern Ghouta, and Latakia, where we are determined to improve and sustain the CoH. We are using our influence with the CoH parties on the ground to press them to abide by the COH, refrain from disproportionate responses to provocations and demonstrate restraint.
- We demand that parties cease any indiscriminate attacks on civilians, including civilian infrastructure and medical facilities. Where attacks leading to significant civilian casualties are reported to have occurred, the co-chairs are committed to undertaking, within existing channels of interaction in Geneva, the region, and capitals, a joint assessment and to sharing the results with the members of the ISSG Ceasefire Task Force and, through the UN Special Envoy for Syria, to the UN Security Council.
- The Russian Federation will work with the Syrian authorities to minimize aviation operations over areas that are predominantly inhabited by civilians or parties to the cessation.
- The co-chairs are urging all states to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 2253 (December 17, 2015) by preventing any material or financial support to ISIL, the al Nusra Front, as well as any other groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United Nations Security Council, and to prevent attempts by such groups to cross the Syrian border.
To that end, the United States is committed to intensifying its support and assistance to regional allies to help them prevent the flow of fighters, weapons, or financial support to terrorist organizations across their borders.
- In order to maintain the effectiveness of the CoH, the co-chairs are committed to undertaking efforts to develop a shared understanding of the threat posed, and territory controlled, by ISIL and the Nusra Front, and to consider ways to deal decisively against the threat posed by ISIL and the Nusra Front to Syria and international security.
[¶6] Since January 2016 the UN, in coordination with the ICRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent, have taken significant steps to deliver assistance to 255,250 people in besieged areas and 472,975 people in hard-to-reach areas.
However, many Syrians with urgent needs have yet to be reached, especially in besieged communities.
Life-saving assistance, including certain medical supplies and personnel to ensure their proper use, have been denied to populations in need.
UN assessment teams and humanitarian personnel have been barred from accessing certain besieged areas.
[¶7] In order to urgently deliver humanitarian aid, the Russian Federation and the United States of America are committed to pressing the parties to ensure continuous delivery of assistance to Douma, East Harasta, Arbeen, Zamalka, Darayya, Zabadin, Fouah, Kafrayah, Madaya, Zabadani, Mouadhimiyeh, Yarmouk, Ein Terma, Hammura, Jisrein, Saqba, and Kafr Batna by land, and that it continues as long as humanitarian needs persist.
Deliveries by air will be continued to Deir ez Zor for approximately 110,000 people in need.
In addition, we reaffirm the need for continuous deliveries to all locations considered by the UN to be hard-to-reach, such as al Waer, Talbisseh, al Rastan, and Afrin.
We also recommend that the UN consider other locations that may meet the criteria for priority designations, including Nubul, Zahra, and Hasakeh.
Humanitarian access, including by medical personnel, to these most urgent areas must be a first step toward full, sustained, and unimpeded access throughout the country.
As called for in UNSCR 2258, border crossings that are necessary for humanitarian relief should remain open.
[¶8] Humanitarian aid will be delivered based on need, with the full package of food, medical, and non-food items as decided by the UN authorized for delivery by all sides.
The provision of mobile health services and evacuation of urgent medical cases should be facilitated by all sides.
[¶9] The co-chairs reaffirm that all parties must allow immediate and sustained humanitarian access to reach all people in need, throughout Syria, particularly in all besieged and hard-to-reach areas, in accordance with UNSCR 2254.
The co-chairs commit to immediately work together with the Syrian parties to ensure no delay in the granting of approval and completion of all pending UN requests for access in accordance with the UN’s monthly plans.
The co-chairs urge all parties to effectively address the issue of detainees and hostages in accordance with UNSCR 2254, 2258, and other relevant resolutions.
We also support the UN’s appeals for continued funding of the Syria Response Plan, and encourage the international community and UN to intensify efforts to meet the needs of internally displaced persons across Syria.
Supporting a Political Settlement in Syria
[¶10] The Russian Federation and United States are determined to redouble efforts to reach a political settlement of the Syrian conflict consistent with UNSCR 2254 through the intra-Syrian negotiations in Geneva under UN auspices.
We concur that these talks should be resumed on the basis of the Special Envoy’s mediator’s summary of April 27, in particular the annex addressing the fundamental issues for a viable transition, and the section on the commonalities on the political transition.
We urge all parties to the conflict, fellow ISSG members, and other members of the international community to promote and support a political settlement in Syria through the full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 2254 and 2268, the 2016 Munich and 2015 Vienna Statements of the ISSG, and the 2012 Geneva Communiqué.
In this regard, the co-chairs strongly support efforts to end violence and bloodshed, counter the threat of terrorism, and ensure the implementation of international humanitarian law.
- "Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the United States on Syria,"
U.S. State Dept,
9 May 2016.
9 September 2016
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Moscow on 14-15 July 2016,
where he began to negotiate a new Cessation of Hostilities agreement with
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. The new agreement was
Cessation of Hostilities Agreement
- completed in Geneva on the night of 9 Sep 2016.
- effective at sundown in Syria (19:00 local time) on 12 Sep 2016.
- frequently violated by both Assad's military and by the insurgents.
- essentially dead by 18 Sep 2016, although Kerry and Lavrov pretended
that the new agreement could be salvaged.
Kerry wanted to keep the new agreement secret, but Russia and France publicly
called for the publication of the agreement.
On 22 Sep 2016 at 14:16 EDT, the Associated Press
published the text of the new agreement. I waited until 16:00 EDT
on 23 Sep to see if the U.S. State Department would publish an official
version, but the State Department failed to post an official version.
So I made a cut-and-paste of the text from the Associated Press article, and
then formatted that text in HTML.
Reducing Violence, Restoring Access and Establishing the JIC
- The Russian Federation and the United States (hereafter — "the Sides")
intend to undertake joint efforts to stabilize the situation in Syria,
with special measures for the Aleppo region. Delineation of territories controlled
by ISIL, "Jabhat Al-Nusra," and moderate armed opposition forces remains a
key priority, as does separating moderate opposition forces from Nusra.
The Sides will designate a date and time at which the following measures will go
into effect (designated as Day "D").
1. On Day "D," all parties to the Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) in Syria will recommit to the CoH and honor its terms in full, as set forth in the February 22, 2016 Joint Declaration of the Russian Federation and the United States, for a 48 hour period.
In particular, these terms include:
The Sides will agree and inform all parties as to the date and time for "Day D."
- ceasing all attacks with any weapons, including aerial bombardments, rockets, mortars, and anti-tank guided missiles;
- refraining from acquiring or seeking to acquire territory from other parties to the CoH;
- allowing humanitarian agencies rapid, safe, unhindered and sustained access throughout areas under their operational control and allowing immediate humanitarian assistance to reach all people in need;
- employing proportionate use of force (i.e. no greater than required to address an immediate threat) if and when responding in self-defense.
2. On D+2, if the CoH in Syria has continued to hold to the mutual satisfaction of the Sides, they will extend it for a mutually agreed upon period of time.
Subsequently, the Sides may decide to extend the CoH indefinitely, under the same terms.
The Sides will use their influence with the parties to fully honor the terms of the CoH.
3. Special measures will also go into effect for the Castello Road area in Aleppo (as defined by mutually determined coordinates), specifically:
- Beginning Day D, and even prior to the establishment of checkpoints on the Castello road, humanitarian assistance will be delivered consistent with the terms of the CoH and established UN procedures, and in coordination with relevant UN representatives.
At the Turkish border, the UN Monitoring Mission (UNMM) will continue to inspect and seal the trucks designated for delivery of humanitarian assistance via Castello Road to Eastern Aleppo.
The seals will not be broken and the trucks will not be opened by any authority between the point of their review and sealing in Turkey and the point of their unloading at UN and its partners' warehouses in east and west Aleppo.
- The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) (or another agreed upon third party) will operate as soon as possible two checkpoints (at agreed upon locations) to verify that, until the UNOPS (or another agreed upon third party) checkpoints are established as clearly described below in this paragraph, only trucks inspected by the UNMM are transiting the road, and that the seals have not been broken.
A small detachment of no more than twenty armed personnel per shift provided by, and mutually acceptable to, the government and opposition forces, will provide security for the SARC personnel at the checkpoints on the western and eastern ends of the Castello Road, respectively.
The UN will monitor (by physical presence or remotely) the activities of all personnel at the checkpoints.
These SARC-manned checkpoints and physical security for them will be handed over to independent, international personnel under the direction of UNOPS (or another agreed upon third party), as soon as they can be deployed.
These internationally-managed checkpoints will provide for the phased-in unrestricted movement of all humanitarian, commercial and civilian traffic on Castello Road, as well as the non-use of the road for the transport of weapons (in accordance with procedures to be developed).
Phasing will proceed as quickly as possible, when those managing the checkpoints assess, in consultation with the UN and the Sides, that they have the capabilities to accommodate the traffic in a safe and orderly manner.
- Simultaneous with the establishment of the SARC (or another agreed upon third party) checkpoints indicated in 3(b), pro-government forces and opposition units will pull back simultaneously from Castello Road, and the vacated area will be considered a "demilitarized zone."
Specifically, pro-government forces will:
- Pull back heavy weapons such as armored fighting vehicles and infantry fighting vehicles (other than BTR-60 and BMP-1 without ATGM), tanks, artillery, and mortars, to a distance of 3,500 m north of the road;
- Pull back crew-served machine guns, BTR-60 and BMP-1 without ATGM to a distance of 2,500 m north of the road;
- Pull back all personnel, other than those present at two observation posts, to a distance of 1,000 m north of the road armed with only small arms or light machine guns;
- On the south side of the road, pull back all personnel, weapons and equipment to a distance of 500 m from the road;
- Establish up to two observation posts no less than 500 m north of Castello road.
The locations will be mutually agreed upon, depending on terrain, with a staff of up to 15 persons equipped with small arms only for self-defense and observation equipment;
- Not impede any humanitarian, civilian and commercial traffic transiting Castello Road; and
- Not occupy areas that opposition groups vacate or set up positions in the demilitarized zone, other than the observation posts.
Opposition forces will simultaneously undertake the following actions:
- On the eastern end of Castello Road on the agreed-upon map (to be determined), the opposition will operate depending on the actions of the Kurdish militia units: if the Kurds are present north of Castello Road, the opposition will remain in place; if the Kurds pull back 500 m south of Castello Road, the vacated area will be considered to be demilitarized and the opposition groups will pull back 500 m north of the road;
- On the western end of Castello Road (on the line of contact extending north from the Castello shopping complex), the opposition pullback will be conducted analogous to the withdrawal of pro-government forces enumerated above.
- Opposition groups located in the 31/15 quadrant of the Russian-provided map, to the north of the Castello shopping complex, will:
- Pull back heavy weapons such as armored fighting vehicles and infantry fighting vehicles (other than BTR-60 and BMP-1 without ATGM), tanks, artillery, and mortars, to a distance of 3,000 m north;
- Pull back crew-served machine guns, BTR-60 and BMP-1 without ATGM to a distance of 2,500 m north;
- Pull back all personnel to a distance of 1,000 m north with only small arms or light machine guns;
- Along the portion of the road that runs from the Castello shopping complex to near the Layramoun Circle, the opposition groups will pull back personnel and weapons to 500 m north of Castello Road.
This mirrors the pullback of pro-regime forces to 500 m south of the Castello Road between those points;
- Not impede any humanitarian, civilian and commercial traffic transiting Castello Road;
- Will not occupy areas that pro-regime forces vacate or set up positions in the demilitarized zone, other than the observation posts; and
- The opposition will make every effort to prevent Nusra forces from advancing into the demilitarized zone from opposition-held areas adjacent to it.
- Any Syrians can leave Aleppo via Castello Road, including armed opposition forces with their weapons, with the understanding that no harm will come to them and they can choose their destination.
Opposition forces leaving Aleppo with weapons must coordinate ahead of time with UN representatives as to the time they will be using Castello Road and the number of personnel and weapons and military equipment departing.
It is also understood that no harm will come to civilians or to opposition forces who abide by the CoH and who choose to remain in Aleppo.
- Any reported violations of the demilitarized zone by any party will be addressed by the United States and Russia.
In the event of a penetration of the demilitarized zone by fighters from Nusra after the JIC has been established, the United States and Russia will act in accordance with the provisions of the JIC Terms of Reference (ToR).
- On Day D, both pro-government forces and opposition groups in the Ramouseh gap will provide safe, unhindered and sustainable humanitarian access to eastern and western Aleppo.
They will also facilitate unrestricted movement of all commercial and civilian traffic on the Khan Tuman Road in the Ramouseh Gap in coordination with the UN and establish a monitoring mechanism to be agreed to by the Sides and the UN as soon as possible to ensure access is unimpeded.
For this purpose, technical teams from the Sides and the UN will convene by D+4.
The delivery of humanitarian assistance will be consistent with the terms of the CoH and established UN procedures, and in coordination with relevant UN representatives.
Neither the opposition groups nor pro-government forces will launch attacks within the area indicated in the attached map, and according to the corresponding geo-coordinates (hereinafter referred to as the "area").
Neither the opposition groups nor pro-government forces will attempt to acquire new territory from the other in the "area."
4. The Sides will confirm to each other that the Syrian government and opposition have agreed to adhere to the applicable obligations in the JIC's ToR, including with respect to the Designated Areas (per geo-coordinates agreed upon by the Sides) where Syrian military aircraft cannot operate, except for agreed non-combat flights, and where the Sides will develop targets for action against Nusra.
5. The Sides will announce the establishment of the JIC, on the basis of the ToR and Designated Areas agreed by the Sides, once measures in paragraphs 1-4 above (with exception of the deployment of UNOPS checkpoints and associated movement of commercial and civilian traffic on the Castello Road and the implementation of the monitoring mechanism referenced in paragraph 3(f)) have been implemented to their mutual satisfaction, including at least seven continuous days of adherence to the CoH.
Ref A - Annex
- The Sides will commence preparatory work for the JIC, beginning Day D.
These preparations will include initial discussion and sharing of information necessary for the delineation of territories controlled by Nusra and opposition groups in the areas of active hostilities for the purpose of the ultimate operation of the JIC.
The more comprehensive process of delineation will be conducted by experts once the JIC is established.
Preparations for the JIC will also include: identifying suitable interim and long-term premises; determining necessary working procedures, consistent with the already agreed Terms of Reference (TOR); and determining if there are mutually agreeable adjustments that should be made, consistent with changes on the ground, to the already agreed map of the Designated Areas, so that the JIC can be fully functional as soon as there are seven continuous days of adherence to the CoH and access to Aleppo as per the terms of this understanding.
- In the period between Day D and the establishment of the JIC, the Sides will each develop actionable Nusrah and Daesh (ISIL) targets so as to be in a position to share them in a way that allows strikes to commence on the day the JIC is established.
Simultaneous with U.S. or Russian strikes on targets agreed to within the JIC, all Syrian military air activities — fixed and rotary wing — will be halted in the agreed designated areas pursuant to the agreed ToR.
- On Day D, the government and opposition groups that are parties to the CoH shall confirm to the Sides their commitment to the CoH. Any violation of the CoH before or after the JIC is established will be dealt with in accordance with the terms for the CoH agreed to in the Joint Statement of February 22, 2016 and the Standard Operating Procedures to Support the Cessation of Hostilities of March 28, 2016.
- The Sides commit to expedite the deployment of UNOPS on Costello Road as agreed in paragraph 3(b).
- Day D will commence at 19:00 Damascus time on Monday, 12 September, 2016.
- Each Side reserves the right to withdraw from this arrangement if they believe the terms have not been fulfilled.
- "AP EXCLUSIVE: Text of Syria cease-fire deal,"
14:16 EDT, 22 Sep 2016.
29 December 2016: Ceasefire Agreements
Draft Ceasefire Agreement
- The following is a draft ceasefire agreement that was negotiated
by Russia and Turkey with Assad and seven insurgent groups.
This draft is not a product of the ISSG (which died in September 2016),
and there was no involvement by the United Nations.
Turkish Radio and Television provided the following translation from the
original in the Arabic language.
- 1. A ceasefire in all Syrian territory excluding military headquarters in areas under Daesh control. The ceasefire will continue as long as the political process is ongoing.
2. The Turkish government guarantees the commitment of the opposition in all the areas that the opposition controls to the ceasefire, including an end to any type of shelling.
3. The Russian Federation guarantees the commitment to the ceasefire, including all types of aerial bombardment and artillery shelling, of the Syrian government and its allies in all the territory that they control.
4. The guarantors of the agreement will ensure that the parties in the conflict will not attempt to seize new areas that were not under their control prior to the ceasefire.
5. The guarantors of the agreement will present an appropriate mechanism to monitor the ceasefire based on UN frameworks after the parties agree to these terms.
6. Negotiations will begin as to a political solution 1 month into the ceasefire.
7. Humanitarian aid will be delivered to all of the besieged areas according to a plan where Russia and Turkey will guarantee full compliance.
- "Syria ceasefire deal — the unsigned draft text,"
18:00 GMT, 29 Dec 2016.
Copy at Daily Sabah.
On 5 January 2017, the United Nations posted at their website a copy of U.N. Security Council document
a Russian/Turkish memorandum that contains the English-translation of five documents —
but not the text of the ceasefire agreement that was signed by the insurgents.
Summary of Ceasefire Agreement
- Because Russia and Turkey chose not to publish the text of the
ceasefire agreement, the closest thing are statements from the governments of
Russia and Turkey. First, the statement of the Russian government:
- With a view to fostering the necessary conditions for establishing a direct political dialogue among all conflicting parties in the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as reducing violence, preventing casualties among civilians and providing unhindered humanitarian access, the Russian Federation, guided by the provisions of Security Council resolution 2254 (2015),
proposes to establish a ceasefire regime throughout Syria (excluding areas of combat operations against the terrorist groups Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Nusrah Front) from 00:00 hours on 30 December 2016 (Damascus time).
From that time onward, all armed groups of opposing sides and their supporting forces are invited to make the following commitments:
The Russian Federation urges the Government of Syria, armed opposition groups supporting a peaceful resolution of the conflict and not affiliated with international terrorist organizations, and States with an influence on the parties to the conflict, to accede to the proposed terms of the ceasefire.
- To cease attacks with any weapons, including rockets, mortars and anti-tank guided missiles, and to cease using combat air forces;
- To refrain from seizing or seeking to seize territory occupied by other parties to the ceasefire;
- To use proportionate retaliatory force (only to the extent necessary for protection against an immediate threat) for self-defence purposes;
- S/2016/1133, Annex I (29 Dec 2016). [Indented list formatting added by Standler.]
- Second, the statement of the Turkish government:
- Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey
- [¶1] Turkey has been undertaking intensive efforts to end the violence and begin the flow of humanitarian aid in Syria and for the resumption of talks between the regime and the opposition for a comprehensive political solution of the Syrian conflict.
[¶2] As a result of our efforts, the warring parties in Syria have reached an understanding on a country-wide ceasefire that will go into effect at 00:00 on 30 December 2016. We welcome this development.
[¶3] Terrorist organizations designated by the United Nations Security Council as such are excluded from this ceasefire.
[¶4] Turkey and the Russian Federation support this understanding as guarantors.
[¶5] The parties, with this understanding, are committed to cease all armed, including aerial, attacks and to refrain from expanding the territories under their control at the expense of one another.
[¶6] Adherence of all parties to this ceasefire is crucial. Turkey and Russia strongly support and will jointly monitor the ceasefire.
[¶7] The support of the countries with influence on the parties on the ground in sustaining the ceasefire will also be vital.
[¶8] Turkey played the decisive role in completion of humanitarian evacuations in Aleppo a few days ago and in ensuring the entry of force of the country-wide ceasefire, as of tomorrow.
[¶9] Hopeful that, with the full observance of the ceasefire to realize a genuine political transition, based on the Geneva communiqué and Security Council resolution 2254 (2015), the regime and the opposition will soon meet in Astana, with the presence of the guarantor countries,
to take concrete steps towards revitalizing the United Nations-led political process.
Turkey will continue her efforts to that end incessantly.
- S/2016/1133, Annex II (29 Dec 2016). [paragraph numbers added by Standler]
Punishment of Violators
- Agreement on the mechanism to record violations of the ceasefire regime declared in Syria that will take effect on 30 December 2016, and on the regime for applying sanctions to violators
- The Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey,
Assuming obligations as Guarantors (in the parts designated to each) of the ceasefire regime in Syria that will take effect on 30 December 2016;
Bearing in mind that Syrian armed opposition groups (hereinafter — the Opposition) and the Government of Syria consent to the drafting and adoption of a separate document —
an Agreement on the mechanism to record violations of the ceasefire regime declared in Syria that will take effect on December 2016 and on the regime for applying sanctions against violators;
Have agreed as follows:
Article 1. Joint Commission
- The Guarantors shall establish a Joint Commission that shall serve as the main body to consider all complaints and issues related to violations of the ceasefire regime.
- The Joint Commission:
- Shall administer the activities of checkpoints to monitor compliance with the ceasefire regime by parties to the Syrian crisis (hereinafter — the Parties);
- Shall submit proposals to the Parties to hold to account persons guilty of violating the ceasefire regime, and shall also submit proposals to the Guarantors on imposing sanctions on violating parties.
- Russian and Turkish offices of the Joint Commission shall be located in Moscow and Ankara respectively.
- The Guarantors shall establish a direct communication channel between the offices.
Article 2. Checkpoints
- With a view to recording violations by the Parties to the ceasefire regime, the Guarantors shall establish checkpoints in residential areas in the vicinity of the actual line of contact among the Parties in order to guarantee compliance with the ceasefire regime by the Parties.
Article 3. Imposition of sanctions on violating Parties
- The Guarantors shall undertake all possible measures to resolve differences among the Parties on compliance with the ceasefire regime and the resolution of conflicts among them.
- Should the Parties fail to reach agreement, the Joint Commission shall send to the violating Party a demand to cease the violations and to take measures to compensate the affected Party for harm inflicted on its population and infrastructure.
If the demand is not complied with, the Guarantors shall apply enforcement measures to the violating Party.
Article 4. Final Provisions
- This Agreement is concluded for the duration of the ceasefire regime.
- The Guarantors agree to draft and sign thereafter an expanded version of this Agreement that will elaborate on its provisions.
- Done at Ankara on 29 December 2016 in three copies, having equal legal force, each in the Russian, Turkish and Arabic languages.
- S/2016/1133, Annex III (29 Dec 2016).
24 Jan 2017: Astana
On 23-24 January 2017 there was a day-and-a-half negotiations between
Assad's government and insurgent groups in Astana. These negotiations
accomplished absolutely nothing, so the convenors of the negotiations
— Russia, Turkey, and Iran — issued the following statement.
JOINT STATEMENT BY IRAN, RUSSIA, TURKEY
ON THE INTERNATIONAL MEETING ON SYRIA
IN ASTANA, JANUARY 23-24, 2017
- [¶1] The delegations of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey, in line with the Joint Statement of their Foreign Ministers made in Moscow, on December 20, 2016 and the UN Security Council resolution 2336;
[¶2] Support launching the talks between the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the armed opposition groups in Astana on January 23-24, 2017;
[¶3] Appreciate the participation in and facilitation of the above-mentioned talks by the UN Secretary-General Special Envoy on Syria;
[¶4] Reaffirm their commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, non-sectarian and democratic State, as confirmed by the UN Security Council;
[¶5] Express their conviction that there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict and that it can only be solved through a political process based on the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution 2254 in its entirety;
[¶6] Will seek, through concrete steps and using their influence over the parties, consolidation of the ceasefire regime established pursuant to the arrangements signed on December 29, 2016
and supported by the UN Security Council resolution 2336 (2016), contribution to minimizing violations, reducing violence, building confidence, ensuring unhindered humanitarian access swiftly and smoothly in line with the UN Security Council resolution 2165 (2014) and protection and free movement of civilians in Syria;
[¶7] Decide to establish a trilateral mechanism to observe and ensure full compliance with the ceasefire, prevent any provocations and determine all modalities of the ceasefire;
[¶8] Reiterate their determination to fight jointly against ISIL/DAESH and Al-Nusra and to separate from them armed opposition groups;
[¶9] Express their conviction that there is an urgent necessity to step up efforts to jumpstart the negotiation process in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution 2254;
[¶10] Emphasize that the International Meeting on Syria in Astana is an effective platform for a direct dialogue between the government and the opposition as required by the UN Security Council resolution 2254;
[¶11] Support the willingness of the armed opposition groups to participate in the next round of negotiations to be held between the government and the opposition under the UN auspices in Geneva as of February 8, 2017;
[¶12] Urge all members of the international community to support the political process with a view to swiftly implementing all steps agreed on the UN Security Council resolution 2254;
[¶13] Decide to actively cooperate on the Astana platform on specific issues of the UN-facilitated Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political process so as to contribute to global efforts to implement the UN Security Council resolution 2254;
[¶14] Express gratitude to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, His Excellency Nursultan Nazarbayev, and to the Kazakh side in general, for hosting the International Meeting on Syria in Astana.
- "Astana joint statement by Iran, Russia, Turkey: in full,"
24 Jan 2017.
4 May 2017
On 4 May 2017 the three guarantors of the 30 Dec 2016 ceasefire in Syria
— Russia, Turkey, and Iran — agreed to create four safe zones
in Syria. Note that these safe zones were imposed on Syria by these guarantors.
The insurgent delegation at the Astana negotiations did not agree with this
proposal. Russia calls the safe zones “de-escalation zones”.
The three guarantors issued the following written agreement,
which they signed on 4 May 2017, after a two-day meeting in Astana.
The agreement became effective at midnight Syrian time on Friday, 5 May 2017.
Creation of 4 Safe Zones in Syria
On 4 May 2017, the three-page, English-language agreement is available on Twitter
as an optically scanned graphic image:
- On 6 May 2017, the Russian Foreign Ministry posted the
following text of the agreement:
- Memorandum on the creation of
de-escalation areas in the Syrian Arab Republic
The Islamic Republic of Iran, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey as guarantors of the observance of the ceasefire regime in the Syrian Arab Republic (hereinafter referred to as “Guarantors”):
have agreed on the following.
- guided by the provisions of UNSC resolution 2254 (2015);
- reaffirming their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic;
- expressing their determination to decrease the level of military tensions and to provide for the security of civilians in the Syrian Arab Republic,
- the following de-escalation areas shall be created with the aim to put a prompt end to violence, improve the humanitarian situation and create favorable conditions to advance political settlement of the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic:
The creation of the de-escalation areas and security zones is a temporary measure,
the duration of which will initially be 6 months
and will be automatically extended on the basis of consensus of the Guarantors.
- Idlib province and certain parts of the neighbouring provinces (Latakia, Hama and Aleppo provinces);
- certain parts in the north of Homs province;
- in eastern Ghouta;
- certain parts of southern Syria (Deraa and Al-Quneitra provinces).
- Within the lines of the de-escalation areas:
- hostilities between the conflicting parties (the government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the armed opposition groups that have joined and will join the ceasefire regime) with the use of any kinds of weapons, including aerial assets, shall be ceased;
- rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access shall be provided;
- conditions to deliver medical aid to local population and to meet basic needs of civilians shall be created;
- measures to restore basic infrastructure facilities, starting with water supply and electricity distribution networks, shall be taken;
- conditions for the safe and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons shall be created.
- Along the lines of the de-escalation areas, security zones shall be established in order to prevent incidents and military confrontations between the conflicting parties.
- The security zones shall include:
The functioning of the checkpoints and observation posts as well as the administration of the security zones shall be ensured by the forces of the Guarantors by consensus. Third parties might be deployed, if necessary, by consensus of the Guarantors.
- Checkpoints to ensure unhindered movement of unarmed civilians and delivery of humanitarian assistance as well as to facilitate economic activities;
- Observation posts to ensure compliance with the provisions of the ceasefire regime.
- The Guarantors shall:
- take all necessary measures to ensure the fulfillment by the conflicting parties of the ceasefire regime;
- take all necessary measures to continue the fight against DAESH/ISIL, Nusra Front and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaeda or DAESH/ISIL as designated by the UN Security Council within and outside the de-escalation areas;
- continue efforts to include in the ceasefire regime armed opposition groups that have not yet joined the ceasefire regime.
- The Guarantors shall in 2 weeks after signing the Memorandum form a Joint working group on de-escalation (hereinafter referred to as the “Joint Working Group”)
composed of their authorized representatives in order to delineate the lines of the de-escalation areas and security zones
as well as to resolve other operational and technical issues related to the implementation of the Memorandum.
The Guarantors shall take steps to complete by 4 June 2017 the preparation of the maps of the de-escalation areas and security zones and to separate the armed opposition groups from the terrorist groups mentioned in para.5 of the Memorandum.
The Joint Working Group shall prepare by the above-mentioned date the maps of the de-escalation areas and security zones to be agreed by consensus of the Guarantors as well as the draft Regulation of the Joint Working Group.
The Joint Working Group shall report on its activities to the high-level international meetings on Syria held in Astana.
The present Memorandum enters into force the next day after its signing.
Done in Astana, 4 May 2017 in three copies in English, having equal legal force.
- "Memorandum on the creation of de-escalation areas in the Syrian Arab Republic,"
Russian Foreign Ministry,
09:41 GMT, 6 May 2017. [Second-level outline changed from • to letters — (A) (B) (C) ... — by Standler.]
This document is at
created 22 February 2016, revised 6 May 2017
list of Standler’s essays on Syria
and links to historical documents.