Syria: Agreement on 'de-escalation zones' could lift UN-facilitated political talks

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al Muallem attends a news conference after a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow Russia

"We're going to stop the killing and the death (in Syria)".

Russian Federation is trying to mediate between the USA and Iran, though it is under "no illusions" about the difficulties, he said. Bogdanov said. "That's not going to happen". "As to whether it will produce results or not, that depends on the implementation", the president said.

Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov of Russia will meet with his American counterpart, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, in Washington on Wednesday to discuss Syria and other issues, both sides announced on Monday, marking the first the Russian FM visits the United States since Trump took office.

Lavrov suggested the U.S. may "initiate" the process in southern Syria near the borders with Israel and Jordan.

"What the president has made clear is that he will confront Russia's disruptive behavior, such as the support for the murderous Assad regime in Syria ... its enabling of Iran, and it's very destructive policy and strategy that it's executing across the Middle East", McMaster explained.




The "foremost" aim of the de-escalation or safe zones is to protect peaceful civilians, but Assad said they also provide armed militants with an opening "to enter into a truce with the government".

The Syrian leader meanwhile, praised Russia's peacemaking efforts, in particular, the Astana peace talks, where Moscow proposed the creation of such de-escalation zones in agreement with the other guarantor-states - Iran and Turkey.

"The State Department has expressed concern about the role of Iran in the agreement and the history of failed cease-fires in the war, which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and left millions of Syrians displaced", it adds.

Putin said after talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi last week that he had secured Trump's backing for the plan to establish safe zones.

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