Tuesday, 25 July, 2017

Russia: Syria deal bans US-led coalition aircraft

Erik Tate | 14 May, 2017, 04:23

The U.S. was not part of negotiating the deal and it said there is "reason to be cautious".

Syrian, Russian, Turkish and US-led coalition aircraft operate in overlapping areas across Syrian airspace.

On May 4, Russia, Iran and Turkey, the guarantors of Syria's nationwide ceasefire, signed a memorandum on establishing four safe zones Syria.

Lavrentyev, whose remarks were carried by Russian news agencies, said US -led coalition aircraft would be able to operate against the Islamic State group in specific areas, but the "de-escalation zones" were now closed to their flights.

The Riyadh-based HNC, which includes political and armed groups, cautioned against attempts to "partition the country through vague meanings of what has been called". Full details of Thursday's agreement have not yet been released.

The plan was agreed by Russia, Turkey, and Iran during Syria talks in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, on Thursday, but sharply criticised by the Syrian opposition which rejected Iran's role as guarantor in any deal.

Abo Zayd says the Shiite-majority country is fueling the sectarian nature of the conflict and that "Iran can't play the role of a peace maker".

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov talked with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the phone on Friday to discuss Syria.

The walkout and the comments underline the huge difficulties of implementing such a deal.

A previous cease-fire agreement signed in Astana on December 30 helped reduce overall violence for several weeks but eventually collapsed. Other attempts at a cease-fire in Syria have all ended in failure.

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In January, President Trump said he would "absolutely do safe zones in Syria" to stem the flow of refugees to Europe, although it is unlikely he meant as part of a Russian plan with Iranian backing.

According to media reports, the plan allows for Russia, Turkey and Iran to continue fighting ISIL, as well as al-Qaeda-affiliated groups inside the safe zones. So they USA can't bomb Syria's infrastructure with impunity, this doesn't seem right.

"We agreed that the de-escalation zones will be established for a period of six months with the option of automatic extension for another six months unless there will not be some circumstances and the guarantor states will take the other decision".

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Thursday, before Russian Federation said U.S. -led coalition flights would also be restricted under the deal, that the United States had "reason to be cautious" about the chances for success of the deal, though it appreciates the efforts by Russian Federation and Turkey to help lower violence in Syria.

Rankine-Galloway noted that the US government is not party to the agreement, which was struck during cease-fire talks in Kazakhstan on Thursday.

Meeting in the Russian resort town of Sochi on Wednesday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin expressed hope the Syrian government and rebels would adopt this latest proposal to "de-escalate" the conflict.

Rudskoi also suggested that Syrian government forces, freed up as a result of the safe areas, could be rerouted to fight against IS in the central and eastern part of Syria.

During the forth round of talks between the Syrian government and rebels in Astana, Russia made a proposal for creating what it called as "de-escalation zones" in Syria.

The deal covers four areas: Idlib province in the north, where nearly a million displaced people are packed among rebel forces dominated by al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate; Eastern Ghouta, a Damascus suburb where rebels threaten the government's complete control of the capital; sections of the central province of Homs in which the patchwork of rebel forces includes a small contingent of al-Qaeda militants; and a stretch of Syria's southern border with Jordan where the United States is supporting rebels against both Syrian forces and Islamic State militants.

The safety lines and checkpoints should allow the entry of unarmed civilians, and facilitate the humanitarian delivery as well as monitoring the cease-fire as these areas will be created to avert confrontation between the warring parties in Syria.

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