Russia Announces a Plan To Create Safe Zones in Syria

Russian military said safe zones deal to come into force

Russian sponsored agreement to create safe zones in Syria will come into force from midnight tonight, said Russian Defence Ministry on Friday.

The agreement aims to establish several safe zones in modern Syria, and will include the Idlib province as well as districts of Latakia, Aleppo and Hama with a total population of over 1 million, the Russian ministry said.

Russian proposal currently has the backing of Iran and Turkey, but the deal will prevent U.S. and coalition military plains to fly over the designed safe zones. Russian official said that all military aircraft – Russian and Turkish included – will be barred from the designated zones.

Under the Russian plain, only the regime air force would have the right to halt flight over the safe zones.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday he and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to a proposal to establish safe zones in Syria, as a mean to protect Syria’s civilian population. However, the White House confirmed the two leaders talked about safe zones, but did not mention any agreements.

The Syrian armed opposition forces is rejecting the Russian plan to create safe zones in the country, and said it will not recognize Iran as a guarantor.

“We refuse any role for Iran and militias affiliated with it. We refuse for it (Iran) to play any role as guarantor, considering it’s a nation with hostilities against the Syrian people,” said Osama Abu Zaid, a Syrian opposition delegation member.

“The operation of aviation in the de-escalation zones, especially of the forces of the international coalition, is absolutely not envisaged, either with notification or without. This question is closed.”

Russian news agencies cited Russian official Alexander Lavrentyev on Friday.

Source: Reuters/Euronews