The safe zones which are being created in Syria will be closed for warplanes of the United States and those of the U.S.-led coalition, Russian news agencies quoted Russian envoy at Syria peace talks Alexander Lavrentyev as saying. 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. Russia, Turkey and Iran signed on Thursday a memorandum on creating safe zones in Syria, while the delegation of the armed Syrian opposition walked out and shouted angrily after a new round of peace talks held in the Kazakh capital Astana. Russia, Turkey and Iran act as guarantors of the Astana peace process. Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov said that next Syria peace talks would be held in Astana in mid-July. “The Syrian Arab Republic supports the Russian initiative on de-escalation zones and confirms its commitment to the cessation of hostilities regime signed Dec. 30, 2016, which includes not bombing these regions”, said state news agency SANA, reporting a foreign ministry statement. The report also said the Syrian army would continue to fight against what it termed terrorist groups across Syria.
As Syria peace talks involving the opposition groups and Turkey, Russia, and Iran are scheduled to take place in Kazakhstan on March 14, the U.N.’s Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis Kevin Kennedy, speaking to Daily Sabah, praised Turkey’s efforts regarding the Syrian crisis, stating that “Without the support of Turkey, we [the U.N.] would be in very difficult circumstances – especially in Syria”. As part of his two-day visit, U.N. official Kennedy met with Turkish officials before traveling to Gaziantep where he visited refugee camps and emphasized that the U.N. has major operations in Turkey. Providing insight regarding his visit, Kennedy stated that he and his team’s main goal is to work and support the neighboring countries in their efforts toward humanitarian works, noting: “We’ve had excellent support from the [Turkish] government here as well as from the people in Turkey. They made a huge difference in these [humanitarian] efforts and I think Turkey should be very proud of that.”