US Dismisses International Agreement Banning Aircraft Over Syrian Safe Zones

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government forces clashed with rebels in the northwestern Syrian province of Hama, shortly after a Russian-led deal to create de-escalation zones took effect on Friday.

Russian Federation and Iran - two of the plan's three sponsors - are key allies of President Bashar Assad's government and both are viewed as foreign occupation forces by his opponents. The Syrian government, backed by Russian Federation and Iran, agreed to the deal Thursday, but members of the opposition delegation walked out on the talks rather than sign the deal.

The Kremlin's plan is similar to calls by U.S. President Donald Trump for "safe zones" in Syria, and Putin said Trump seemed to support the idea when the leaders talked Tuesday by phone.

The Russian-led deal "was concluded without the Syrian people" and "lacks the minimum basics of legitimacy", it said in a statement.

Turkey, Iran and Russian Federation signed an agreement in the Kazakh capital of Astana on Thursday, setting up four "de-escalation" zones in war-torn Syria. This photo provided by Azaz Media Office, a Syrian anti-government activist group, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Syrian citizens and civil defense workers gathering next of.

The ceasefire will last six months and could be "automatically extended" for another six months, Alexander Lavrentyev said Friday after talks in Astana, Kazakhstan.

The Kazakhstan agreement calls for delineating zones where front lines between the Syrian government forces and the rebels would be frozen and fighting halted.

The deal aims to establish the zones for six months and are meant to enforce the cessation of all hostilities between government and opposition fighters.

The Syrian military have so far not commented on the issue.

The group also said the deal was an attempt to neutralize rebel-held areas and give Syrian government troops the military victories they could not achieve on the battleground.

The Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad is not a signatory, but its state news agency has said it supports the plan.

So they United States can't bomb Syria's infrastructure with impunity, this doesn't seem right.

"The only place where the coalition's aviation can operate is certainly on targets of the Islamic State".

A key Syrian opposition official has said that Iran is part of the problem rather than the solution for the war-torn country, and should have no role in the newly implemented "de-escalation" zones.

United States and allied aircraft will be banned from flying over much of Syria as part of a deal struck by Iran, Russia and Turkey to foster a cease-fire in the Syrian war, a senior Russian diplomat said Friday.

Fighting reportedly eased on Saturday as the zones came into effect - although battles continued on an important frontline near Hama, according to a monitoring group.

The US has expressed concern over Iran, saying the country had "only contributed to the violence, not stopped it". Several truces and agreements have fallen apart during the multi-sided war, in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed.

The fourth zone covers southern Syria, particularly Daraa and Quneitra province, which both have large rebel-held areas, though a jihadist faction close to the IS is also present in Quneitra.

  • Leroy Wright