Beirut, Lebanon. The Russian Federation, Iran and Turkey agreed to establish “de-escalation zones” in Syria, signing on to a Russian plan under which President Bashar Assad’s air force would halt flights over designated areas across the war-torn country. The agreement excludes Americans and their aircraft from the skys of Syria.
The Russian led agreement is the latest attempt to reduce violence in the Arab country. The full details of the proposal were made available and prospects for its success appeared good, providing the Americans are not allowed to obstruct it.
Russia’s representative at the Syria talks said the “de-escalation zones” would be closed to military aircraft from the US coalition. Alexander Lavrentyev’s comments Friday came a day after talks in Kazakhstan where Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed to establish the zones.
Lavrentyev, whose remarks were carried by Russian news agencies, said US coalition aircraft would be able to operate against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants in specific areas, but the “de-escalation zones” were now closed to their flights.
An agreement signed in Astana this past December, helped reduce overall violence for several weeks but eventually collapsed due to American attacks. Other attempts at a cease-fire in Syria have all ended in failure, mostly because of American uninvited intervention.
However, UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura described Thursday’s agreement as a “step in the right direction,” expressing hope that the deal would boost UN backed Syria peace talks in Geneva. De Mistura said details of the Astana agreement would become clearer in the next two weeks, adding that the United Nations was “very supportive” of the deal.