US-Led Coalition Planes Banned From Syria Safe Zones

Russia has said that the four safe zones that are to be established in Syria will be closed to all US-led coalition warplanes.

“As for [the coalition] actions in the de-escalation zones, starting from now those zones are closed for their flights,” Russian envoy Aleksandr Levrentyev told journalists.

A memorandum was signed on Thursday establishing four “safe zones” in the Syrian provinces of Idlib, Latakia and Homs, as well as parts of Aleppo.

Press TV reports:

Russian news agencies quoted Russian envoy at Syria peace talks Alexander Lavrentyev as saying on Friday, a day after the fourth round of negotiations between the Damascus government and armed opposition in the Kazakh capital, Astana.

During the talks, Iran, Russia and Turkey, as mediators and guarantors of the ceasefire regime in Syria, brokered a memorandum on the creation of four de-escalation zones in areas where the most intense fighting is taking place between Syrian government troops and different militant groups.

Iran and Russia are allies of the Syrian government, while Turkey backs different militant factions. The trio is tasked with observing the implementation of the ceasefire regime, which was agreed last December and helped launch the Astana peace process a month later.

The memorandum was adopted based on a Russian proposal to single out four hot spots in violence-hit areas of Syria, including the provinces of Idlib and Homs as well as the eastern Ghouta region near Damascus.

Under the plan, Damascus and the militant groups, which are party to the Syria-wide truce, will stop all clashes and the use of any kinds of weapons in the security zones. The measure is meant to facilitate the progress of the diplomatic process as well as aid deliveries to civilians in the troubled areas.

Lavrentyev said Thursday that that under the plan Russia could send observers to safe zones. He said third-party monitors could be invited provided Iran and Turkey agreed.

Also on Thursday, top Syrian negotiator Bashar al-Ja’afari praised the latest round of Astana talks as an “unprecedented” leap forward in the peace process aimed at finding a political solution to the deadly Syria crisis.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the memorandum.