Following the U.S. airstrike in Syria last month, Russia and Iran issued a joint statement saying further U.S. action in Syria would be answered with retaliatory force. Thursday, Russia, Iran, and Turkey agreed to create four “de-escalation zones” in Syria, creating a temporary cease fire as well as safe areas for civilians to flee areas controlled by ISIS. Russia announced Friday that as part of the agreement, U.S.-led coalition aircraft will be banned from flying over the four de-escalation zones.
Under the plan, all military aircraft, including Russian and Turkish, are prohibited and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s air force would be in charge of ensuring other nations comply with the no-fly zone rules. According to Russian official Alexander Lavrentyev, U.S.-led coalition aircraft as well as aircraft from other nations would be able to engage ISIS in other areas:
Lavrentyev, whose remarks were carried by Russian news agencies, said “the operation of aviation in the de-escalation zones, especially of the forces of the international coalition, is absolutely not envisaged, either with notification or without. This question is closed.”
The new rule is already being supported by the United Nations. In a statement, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the organization “welcomes the commitments to ceasing the use of all weapons, particularly aerial assets.”
The Russian agreement is the latest attempt to curb violence in Syria. A previous cease-fire signed in December 2016 collapsed after several weeks. Opposition to this new agreement protested Iran’s involvement as a guarantor of the deal, for Iran is accused of encouraging sectarian fighting in Syria.