Brothers in arms: Turkey and Russian Federation cosy up over missiles

Laura Christensen
May 6, 2017

The Pentagon says the de-escalation agreement will not affect the US-led air campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria.

An agreement on safe zones in Syria will come into force from midnight tonight but Russia's air force will continue striking Islamic State elsewhere in the country, Russian news agencies cited Russian Defence Ministry as saying on Friday. The war-torn country believes in the Russian President and hopes for his continuing support.

The "de-escalation zones" to be established in Syria will be closed to military aircraft from the USA -led coalition, the Russian official who signed the agreement also said Friday.

The head of Russia's delegation at the Kazakhstan talks, Alexander Lavrentyev, said the Syrian government would abide by the agreement, unless rebels inside those areas stage attacks.

A Syrian opposition coalition says the Russia-backed deal to establish "de-escalation zones" in Syria lacks legitimacy and seeks to divide the country.

Details of the agreement were not immediately made public and it was not clear if worldwide observers will be sent to Syria to monitor its implementation.

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The deal led to some members of the Syrian opposition delegation in the Kazakh capital Astana to slam the agreement.

In a conflict like Syria's, which has raged on for almost a decade without an end in sight, any positive step is a thing to be celebrated.

"It will be crucial to see this agreement actually improve the lives of Syrians", UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement. "Over the past two days, the participants in the Astana talks reviewed the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the cessation of hostilities", Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov said of a frail truce brokered by Moscow and Ankara in December.

The deal calls for "rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access" in the areas in question, as well as measures to restore basic infrastructure and allow the "safe and voluntary return" of displaced people and refugees.

Also, prospects for the success of the deal - agreed on by Russia, Turkey and Iran - are undermined by the failure of Syrian rebel groups who oppose President Bashar Assad to sign on to it.

"The hard work of Iran, Russian Federation, Turkey and the presence at the senior level of the United States of America and of Jordan has produced something that we believe as a UN is a very significant, and in my opinion - our opinion - is a promising step", de Mistura also noted. Representatives of several rebel groups say they can not accept Iran as a guarantor of the deal. The zones include the provinces of Idlib, areas north of Homs, the eastern Ghouta suburbs outside Damascus, and an area in the south of the country, according to a statement.

Other reports by My Hot News

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