Russia: Syria deal bans US-led coalition aircraft

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With the help of Russian Federation and Iranian-backed militias, the Syrian government has gained the military upper hand against rebel groups, including some supported by Turkey, the US and Gulf monarchies.

Russian Aerospace Forces have already, on May 1 paused their airstrikes in the areas demarcated as safe zones, Russia's Defense Ministry said. There were limited reports of bombing in northern Homs and Hama, and the southern province of Daraa, areas expected to be part of the "de-escalation zones", activists said. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

A deal signed by Russia, Iran and Turkey on Thursday appears to give Syria's opposition something it has been requesting for a long time: internationally-backed safe zones for civilians.

He did not elaborate further or suggest which other countries could take part in enforcing the deal.

Russia's military says the agreement setting up four de-escalation zones in Syria will.

The U.S. also expressed doubts, as State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Thursday that the U.S. has “concerns” about the accord, “including the involvement of Iran as a so-called “guarantor, ” and said Russian Federation should do more to stop violence.

Despite the fact that the exiled opposition and some rebel groups opposed the deal, Shehadeh noted that Turkey's involvement in the deal is crucial to practice pressure on the rebels and other opposition factions to be onboard, particularly now that the Saudi-backed Higher Negotiation Committee (HNC) said the proposal to create the safe zones is "vague".

The government supported the de-escalation plan, but said it would continue to fight what it termed terrorist groups.

Syrian, Russian, Turkish and US -led coalition aircraft sometimes operate in the same areas in Syria. It said some maps of the "de-escalation zones" that were released are not accurate and will not be accepted because the armed opposition did not negotiate them. The only exception to the grounding are operations against ISIS and other jihadist groups.

Participants attend Syria peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, this week.

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The four safe regions are situated across eight of Syria's 14 provinces.

"We have not changed or altered our operations in any way", said Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.

The agreement is the latest attempt to reduce violence in the Arab country.

Mohammed Rasheed, a spokesman for the Jaish al-Nasr rebel group, said Russian Federation was "merely playing political games" and "making declarations".

But neither the government nor the rebels were direct signatories to the deal, and the opposition's reaction was lukewarm. "How exactly that is going to play out - we don't know the details", said Dekker.

However, Brig. Gen. Hussam al-Awwak, an Arab spokesman for the SDF, told The Associated Press on Thursday that no such agreement was reached but that a corridor was opened for the extremists to leave the dam, which he said they still control.

Doyle said there are huge question marks over the commitment of various actors to reducing violence and over how the plan will be enforced. Because Moscow is monitoring the agreement, he said, it is unlikely to "impede its own military actions on the ground".

"We're nowhere near that sort of situation at the moment because nobody has been able to demonstrate that the violence is going to be able to recede to the sort of levels that are necessary".

Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin said that if implemented, the deal will allow for the separation of the opposition from IS fighters and those of the al-Qaida affiliate.

The US state department said that it supports "any effort" that can genuinely move towards peace but voiced scepticism about the new agreement's ability to create safe zones. Several truces and agreements have fallen apart during the multi-sided war, in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed. In 1945, there was talk of a united Germany, but in practice, and, not through the fault of the USSR, three states emerged: the German Democratic Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany and West Berlin.

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