Russia says Syria safe zones closed to US-coalition jets

Russia says Syria safe zones closed to US-coalition jets
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Russian lead negotiator on Syria Alexander Lavrentyev, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov and UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura at the Syria peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, May 4, 2017. (Reuters)
Russia says Syria safe zones closed to US-coalition jets
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Russian lead negotiator on Syria Alexander Lavrentyev, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov and UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura at the Syria peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, May 4, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 06 May 2017

Russia says Syria safe zones closed to US-coalition jets

Russia says Syria safe zones closed to US-coalition jets

MOSCOW: Jets from the US-led coalition are barred from proposed safe zones in Syria set to be created under a deal inked by Russia, Iran and Turkey, Moscow’s envoy said Friday.
“In terms of their actions in the de-escalation zones, then from this moment these zones are closed for their flights,” Alexander Lavrentiev, the Kremlin’s envoy to peace talks in Kazakhstan, was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.
“Aviation operations, especially by the international coalition forces, are absolutely not envisioned,” he said.
Regime backers Russia and Iran and opposition supporter Turkey on Thursday signed a deal at talks in Kazakhstan to set up four safe zones in the war-torn country. The agreement did not explicitly mention the US-led coalition, which has been targeting Daesh, but Lavrentiev insisted that “flights cease over these territories.”
“We as guarantors will closely monitor all operations,” he said.
Moscow’s envoy said this means coalition air power can now only focus on “Islamic State (Daesh) targets that are located in the area of Raqqa, some populated areas in the region of the Euphrates, Deir Ez Zor and further on to the territory of Iraq.”
The exact boundaries of the proposed safe zones in Syria are yet to be defined but they are meant to focus on opposition-held territory.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is encouraged by the agreement, his spokesman said.
“It will be crucial to see this agreement actually improve the lives of Syrians,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.
Guterres “welcomed the commitments to ceasing the use of all weapons, particularly aerial assets” and to quickly deliver medical aid and basic necessities, said the spokesman.