Syrian forces clash with rebels in new Russian 'de-escalation' zone

However, Syrian armed opposition's delegation did not sign the memorandum and stormed out in protest against Iran's participation in the deal.

The deal lacks specifics.

Fighting subsided in Syria on Saturday after a deal signed by Assad regime backers Russian Federation and Iran and opposition supporter Turkey to create four safe zones began to take effect, a monitor said.

Russian Federation and Iran are both key backers of Assad.

But under Thursday's deal, the entire province, which hosts tens of thousands of militants exiled from across opposition territory retaken by the government across the country, is designated to be one of the four "de-escalation zones".

"The coalition will continue to strike ISIS targets in Syria". Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday ways to monitor the zones would be an issue for separate talks.

But analysts say there is much yet to be negotiated on Syria and remaining differences between Turkey and Russian Federation.

Alexander Lavrentyev spoke a day after he and officials from Turkey and Iran agreed to establish the zones, in the latest attempt to reduce violence in the Arab country. Rebels fighting to topple Assad are enraged by Iran's role in the deal and blame the Shiite power for fueling the sectarian nature of Syria's conflict, now in its seventh year.

"We look forward to continuing our dialogue with the Russian Federation on efforts that can responsibly end the Syria conflict".

Col. -Gen. Sergei Rudskoi told reporters on Friday that the "work of checkpoints and observation posts, as well as the management of security zones, will be carried out by the personnel and formations of Russia, Turkey and Iran".

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there had been a reduction in fighting across Syria since the deal came into force, but warned it was too early to say whether it would last.

Lavrentyev, whose remarks were carried by Russian news agencies, said USA -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. Russia's military says the agreement setting up four de-escalation zones in Syria will.

But the Pentagon also vowed that the de-escalation agreement would not affect the US -led air campaign against the Islamic State.

Disputes about the details of agreements in the Syrian civil war have always made negotiations thorny. "What deal?" he scoffed.

The "de-escalation zones" will be closed to military aircraft from the US -led coalition, the Russian official who signed the agreement, Alexander Lavrentye, said Friday.

That language was interpreted by many government opponents as a signal that the Syrian military meant to keep bombing wherever it chose on the pretext of fighting terrorism. The New York Times noted that the USA conducts airstrikes in non-listed areas against al-Qaida affiliates.

The government of Syrian President Bashar Assad said in a statement this week that it "supports" the initiative on de-escalation zones, "including not shelling those areas".

  • Leroy Wright