Syria fighting eases as safe zones plan begins

The deal aims to establish the zones for six months and are meant to enforce the cessation of all hostilities between government and opposition fighters.

The deal was signed by Russia, Iran and Turkey on Thursday, said the report.

Russia's foreign ministry published the full text of the agreement on Saturday. Rebels rejected the deal and said they would not recognise Iran as a guarantor of any ceasefire plan.

A Russian plan to set up "de-escalation zones" in Syria was to go into effect at midnight Friday, but it will be at least another month before the details are worked out and the safe areas fully are established, according to Russian officials.

Turkey's foreign ministry suggested the scope was wider and would include the whole of Idlib province; parts of Latakia, Aleppo and Hama provinces; parts of Homs province; parts of Damascus and the East Ghouta region; and also parts of the southern Daraa and Quneitra provinces.

The fact that the de-escalation agreement was supported by the United Nations, the United States and Saudi Arabia guaranteed its implementation, the RIA and Interfax news agency quoted Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin as saying.

The agreement envisages the halt of hostilities between Syrian government forces and armed opposition groups within the zones and the creation of conditions for humanitarian access, medical assistance, the return of displaced civilians to their homes and the restoration of damaged infrastructure.

The four zones are only safe for the so-called armed opposition factions and exclude the Takfiri terrorist groups of Daesh and the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front.

But during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's joint news briefing with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi Wednesday, Erdogan concentrated on condemning terrorism rather than Assad's government.

Political and armed opposition groups have accused Russian Federation of being unwilling or unable to get Assad and his Iranian-backed militia allies to respect past ceasefires.

It is not clear how the ceasefire or de-escalation zones will be enforced in areas still to be determined in maps to emerge a month from now.




Russian Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi told reporters Friday that personnel from Iran and Russia, which back the Syrian government, and from Turkey, which backs some rebel groups, will operate checkpoints and observation posts.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Thursday, before Russian Federation said U.S. -led coalition flights would also be restricted under the deal, that the United States had "reason to be cautious" about the chances for success of the deal, though it appreciates the efforts by Russian Federation and Turkey to help lower violence in Syria.

Some of those areas had already seen a drop in violence by Saturday, AFP's correspondents and a monitoring group said.

A ceasefire was unsustainable in the presence of the Iranian-backed militias in Syria, he said, adding: "We can't imagine Iran playing a role of peace".

Fighting eased in Syria on Saturday after a deal signed by government backers Russian Federation and Iran and rebel supporter Turkey to create four "de-escalation zones" began to take effect.

The Observatory said government and allied forces had managed to take a number of points in al-Zalakiyat, and rebel forces had returned fire and also shelled the government-held town of Halfiya.

"Despite some violations the situation is much calmer than before", said opposition activist Mohammed al-Homsi, speaking via Skype from northern Syria.

"We express the confidence that after such a statement, the flights by Syrian combat aircraft and their operation on the territory of de-escalation zones will cease", Lavrentyev said, according to TASS.

But he stressed Russia's air force would continue striking militants from the Islamic State (IS) group elsewhere in Syria. The U.S. and Russian Federation signed the memorandum in 2015 when Russian Federation began its air operations in the country.

The plan, details of which will still be worked out over the next several weeks, went into effect at midnight Friday.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Tiffany Trump, President Trump's Youngest Daughter, Accepted to Georgetown Law School
May 09, 2017 - 00:42
Unlike Ivanka, the younger Trump daughter hasn't taken an active role in her father's business or his administration. Representatives for the Trump family told CNN the she would join the roughly 1,900-person student body this fall.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Jaskin, Schwartz score as Blues beat Predators 2-1
May 09, 2017 - 00:34
Only Allen kept the Predators from padding that lead with save after save, including a big stop on a breakaway by Filip Forsberg . The eighth-seeded team in the West, the Predators followed up a stunning sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks by ousting the St.

Beyond 100 days, Trump faces more legislative challenges
May 09, 2017 - 00:29
After serving as commander in chief for 100 days, his achievements, as well as shortfalls, were being closely scrutinized. Trump entered the arena and said there is no place he'd rather be than in Pennsylvania to celebrate his 100th day.

Inter 'ready to offer' Chelsea boss Antonio Conte £10m salary
May 09, 2017 - 00:18
Rudiger has also been linked with Chelsea in the past, but picked up a serious injury in the build-up to Euro 2016. Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is eyeing a £70million raid of Serie A giants Roma, according to reports.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Aric Almirola wins Xfinity Series race at Talladega
May 09, 2017 - 00:11
Note: There were 28 lead changes among 14 drivers in a highly competitive race . Almirola took the lead with four laps to go.

First Formula 1 win 'surreal' for Valtteri Bottas
May 09, 2017 - 00:04
Bottas concedes that the first win has take a while, but he is now looking forward to more as he has learnt the trick. The gap dropped even further in the closing slaps as Vettel started putting in some blistering lap times.

Trump to visit Israel, Saudi Arabia, Vatican, meet with pope
May 07, 2017 - 13:48
Trump will also stop in Rome to meet Pope Francis at the Vatican as part of the trip, the official said. One White House official said the trip is meant to show that Trump is not an isolationist leader.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top French stocks soar to near-decade highs as Macron tops poll
May 07, 2017 - 13:47
She added, "So I am afraid I didn't define Emmanuel as ... the hope of a generation but the fact of seeing European and French flags together".

North Korea accuses US, South Korea of assassination attempt
May 07, 2017 - 13:44
Unwilling to acknowledge that its people are fleeing, the North regularly accuses the South of abducting North Korean citizens. When it accused the South Korean spy agency in these cases, it usually named the CIA as a co-conspirator or the mastermind.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Leaked Trump draft order blames NAFTA for 'massive' wealth transfer from US
May 07, 2017 - 13:40
This week the U.S. administration announced it would slap hefty tariffs on softwood lumber being imported from Canada. He often said he would either "get rid of it" or "terminate it" or "renegotiate" it.

Recovering Sidney Crosby skates at Penguins practice facility
May 07, 2017 - 13:38
But the next one never came, even as the Capitals repeatedly blitzed the Penguins' zone with hollow scoring chances. Meanwhile, the Penguins will try to put the Caps down 3-1 in the series. "I could talk for a while".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Russian Federation says Syria de-escalation deal takes effect at midnight
May 07, 2017 - 13:32
But the Pentagon also vowed that the de-escalation agreement would not affect the US -led air campaign against the Islamic State. Another question left unanswered is how the deal would affect USA airstrikes targeting al-Qaida's positions in Syria.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Putin supports plan to investigate reported abuse of gays
May 07, 2017 - 13:29
Chechen officials vehemently deny not only the reported torture of gays, but sometimes their very existence. Homophobia is widespread in Chechnya.

Kershaw, Dodgers dominate Padres
May 07, 2017 - 13:17
Adrian Gonzalez in in his 14th Major League Baseball season, and he has never spent time on the disabled list. The Padres grabbed the lead with an unearned run in the fifth on Manuel Margot's sacrifice fly.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Coulter's Berkeley speech canceled, police prep for violence
May 06, 2017 - 03:14
The University of California, Berkeley, has reversed its decision to cancel an appearance by conservative firebrand Ann Coulter . Coulter and that it supported her right to speak in a safe venue, but that they needed more time to find the appropriate space.