Russian Federation says Syria safe zones will go into effect

Many previous ceasefire agreements in Syria have largely failed.

The group will then "take steps to complete by June 4, 2017, the preparation of the maps of the de-escalation areas and security zones and to separate the armed opposition groups from the terrorist groups". Moscow says that includes flight and strikes by Syrian war planes and air raids by the US -led coalition.

Russian Federation proposed the "de-escalation zones", agreed to by Turkish leaders, which acted as a guarantor for a rebel coalition of forces opposed to President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Separately, a Syrian monitoring group and an official with a US -backed force said on Thursday that Kurdish-led fighters have captured all parts of a Tabqa, a northern town in Syria that was held by ISIS. After past failures, this deal provides for the first time a mechanism to observe the cease-fire: Russian, Iranian and Turkish troops are to monitor compliance on the ground. "But officials have expressed skepticism, stressing that safe zones have not had an encouraging track record", notes the Associated Press.

In theory, safe zones are meant to allow civilians a place of refuge, where aid organisations can help them without getting caught in attacks.

A rebel commander said the general level of violence was reduced, but added: "Regime attempts (to advance) in the Hama countryside continue". This easier for smaller areas that can more easily be cleared of armed groups and guarded by a neutral protection force.

The government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media reported there was "relative calm" in the "de-escalation zones" nine hours after the deal went into effect. Russia, Turkey and Iran will act as guarantors of the cease-fire.

Turkey and Iran agreed on Thursday to Russia's proposal for "de-escalation zones" in Syria, a move welcomed by the United Nations but met with skepticism from the United States.

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None of these parties have the neutrality that would ideally be required for monitoring safe zones.

Fighters from the Democratic Forces of Syria inspect weapons and ammunition that, according to them, belonged to Islamic State fighters, in al-Shadadi town, in Hasaka province, Syria, February 26, 2016.

The rebel delegation at Astana had already made clear its objections to the deal, particularly Iran's role as a sponsor.

The Syrian opposition coalition has denounced the deal as an attempt to "divide Syria" and hand government troops military victories they would otherwise be unable to achieve.

MOSCOW (AP) - A Russian plan to set up "de-escalation zones" in Syria is to go into effect at midnight on Friday, but it will be at least another month before all the details are worked out and the safe areas are fully established, according to Russian officials. Full details of Thursday's agreement have not yet been released. The United States is not party to the Astana agreement and the Syrian rebels have not signed on to the deal.

But Mr. Lavrentiev seemed to sketch out a broader geographical no-fly zone for American and coalition military planes.

A previous cease-fire agreement signed in Astana on December 30 helped reduce overall violence for several weeks but eventually collapsed. Given the exclusion of the USA from the latest agreement and its criticism of its framework, it can be assumed that it is not what Washington had in mind when Mr Trump floated the idea.

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