Russia-brokered Syria no-fly zone deal bans United States aircraft, too

Cheryl Sanders
May 6, 2017

Syrian regime allies Russian Federation and Iran, and rebel supporter Turkey, yesterday signed a memorandum on a Moscow-backed plan to create safe zones in Syria to bolster a fragile truce.

As officials from the three countries that back rival sides in the conflict signed the agreement at talks in the Kazakh capital of Astana on Thursday, some members of the Syrian opposition delegation shouted in protest and walked out of the conference room.

The agreement would create four zones in northern Syria where fighting would stop by Saturday to provide civilians a place to congregate to escape the violence and receive food and medical attention.

The "de-escalation zones" to be established in Syria will be closed to military aircraft from the US -led coalition, the Russian official who signed the agreement also said Friday. Russia, Turkey and Iran signed today a memorandum for the creation of safe areas in Syria, following the talks held by representatives from the Syrian Government and the opposition.

The areas include key territory held by anti-Assad forces.

"['De-escalation'] was a carefully chosen word in order to reduce to the bare minimum the use of weapons; for instance, airplanes, use of heavy weapons", said de Mistura.

Also, prospects for the success of the deal - agreed on by Russia, Turkey and Iran - are undermined by the failure of Syrian rebel groups who oppose President Bashar Assad to sign on to it.

The United States gave an extremely cautious welcome on Thursday to Russian Federation and Turkey's plan to create safe zones to quell the Syrian civil war. "It will be crucial to see this agreement actually improve the lives of Syrians", the spokesman said.

The head of Russia's delegation and the president's special envoy for Syrian settlement, Alexander Lavrentyev, said the zones are established for six months and can be automatically extended for the same period.

The presidents of Russian Federation and Turkey are holding talks on the situation in Syria and the restoration of full economic ties between their two countries.

The latest round of Syrian peace talks in Astana is sponsored by opposition supporter Turkey and Syrian government backers Russian Federation and Iran.

The U.S., which was represented at the talks by Acting Assistant Secretary of State Stuart E. Jones, said it "appreciate [d] the efforts of Turkey and the Russian Federation to pursue this agreement".

Black said the fourth round of the peace talks will probably not resolve problems, but parties involved are getting closer as the situation on the battlefield is affected by the army's victory in Aleppo and recapture of the ancient city of Palmyra.

Black pointed to real safe zones in Syria, which are not in the areas that are controlled by terrorists.

Other reports by iNewsToday