Safe Zone (Syria)
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the Syrian Civil War
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Safe Zones or de-escalation Zones in Syria were previously four (now only Idlib remains unconquered by Assad) areas within Western Syria, where fighting between the Ba'athist Syrian government and Syrian opposition was not allowed from May 2017. The zones: 1) near Homs, 2) Eastern Ghouta, 3) southern Daraa and Quneitra were agreed in Astana on Thursday 4 May 2017 between Russia, Iran and Turkey. The Turkish-controlled Security Belt in Northern Syria was not included in this agreement, but Idlib was added in September 2017 and prolongated in September 2018.
The Safe Zone areas are to be controlled by checkpoints, observation posts and security buffer areas, and would potentially be policed by foreign troops. Syrian Ba'athist airforce is forbidden from operating within the Safe Zones. Furthermore, according to Russian Special Envoy for Syria - Aleksandr Lavrentiev, Russian and Turkish air forces are banned from flying at the Safe Zone areas. The Russian official also claimed that the airspace over the safe zones has also been closed to aircraft belonging to the American-led intervention in Syria, while the US State Department denied the claim. The Safe Zones agreement came into force at 21:00 on Friday May 5th. It was agreed the areas would be clearly demarcated by June 4th 2017. The Safe Zones aim to deescalate the conflict over a period of 6 months, with the possibility for a continuance afterwards for another 6 months.
By mid-2018, 3 out of 4 zones (except Idlib) have been conquered by the Baathists.
- Barnard, Anne (5 May 2017). "Russia Says Deal Bars American Jets From Much of Syria's Skies. U.S. Says No" – via www.nytimes.com.