Russia: Syria deal bans US-led coalition aircraft

Trevor Jackson
May 14, 2017

Yet, the de-escalation zones agreement was not signed by the Syrian government, nor the opposition.

Russian Federation and Iran are both key backers of Assad.

"The implementation of the memorandum will allow for stopping the combat activities by warring sides and practically put an end to the civil war in Syria, which is why the document is of great importance for the political settlement in the country", Fomin said on Friday. But it is not yet clear when and where they will deploy. The High Negotiations Committee said the deal "was concluded without the Syrian people" and "lacks the minimum basics of legitimacy".

It emerged Friday that the trilateral deal also seeks to ban USA aircraft from flying through the designated areas.

The monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there were no reports of violations in the first minutes past midnight.

The Russian Defense Ministry said it would do so at a briefing later Friday.

It denounced the deal, which is expected to come in effect at midnight, as an attempt to "legitimize" Iranian presence in Syria - a reference to Tehran-backed fighters who are siding with the Syrian government in the war.

The Syrian regime supported the de-escalation plan, but said it would continue to fight what it termed terrorist groups.

It also called on the USA and other Arab allied countries, to take "firm stances" to prevent the implementation of the deal. Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway. ISIS is an alternative acronym for the Sunni militant group.

Syrian, Russian, Turkish and US -led coalition air craft operate in different, sometimes same areas in Syria.

Critically, the plan allows for the guarantors to continue fighting not just the Islamic State but also al-Qaeda, which is allied with some rebel groups in the proposed safe zones. "As for the agreements, we are not a party to that agreement and of course we will never be in favour (of it) as long as Iran is called a guarantor state", Abu Zaid said. He did not elaborate on who those countries might be.

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The agreement on four de-escalation zones was struck during the talks in Kazakhstan but Syrian rebel representatives have expressed doubts that it will work.

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.

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

Syria's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it accepted a Russian proposal to create de-escalation zones, vowing not to shell the areas in compliance with a largely ignored ceasefire agreed to in December. The group also criticized Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying he was trying to partition the nation into useful and non-useful regions.

As the agreement was being signed in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, some members of the Syrian opposition delegation shouted in protest and walked out of the conference room. The total population there is over one million people.

Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Ahmet Uzumcu told The Associated Press on Friday that the team is already working and he was due to speak to its leader later in the day.

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

The de-escalation deal builds on a ceasefire agreed between Russian Federation and Turkey last December that reduced violence for a period but gradually fell apart.

The zones appear meant to halt conflict in specific areas between Assad regime forces and opposition fighters, and would potentially be policed by foreign troops. But the full details of the proposal were not made available and prospects for its success appeared bleak.

The "de-escalation zones" will be closed to military aircraft from the USA -led coalition, the Russian official who signed the agreement, Alexander Lavrentye, said Friday. Given the exclusion of the U.S. from the latest agreement and its criticism of its framework, it can be assumed that it is not what Washington had in mind when Mr Trump floated the idea.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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