Syria says it will reject UN mediation in implementation of 'de-escalation' zones

Damascus: Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said on Monday his country would reject any United Nations role in monitoring the implementation of four "de-escalation" zones.

"We do not accept a role for the United Nations or international forces to monitor the agreement," Muallem told reporters in Damascus.

Regime backers Russia and Iran and rebel supporter Turkey reached a deal on Thursday on four "de-escalation zones" in Syria where the government and opposition will halt hostilities.

Syria President Bashar al-Assad. AP

Syria President Bashar al-Assad. AP

The deal says those areas would be bordered by "security zones" with checkpoints and observation centres "ensured by the forces of the guarantors by consensus", but that "third- party" monitors could also be deployed.

Muallem on Monday said there could be a role "as the Russian guarantor has said, for military police", but it was unclear if he was referring to Syrian or foreign units.

The multi-phase plan, signed Thursday in the Kazakh capital Astana, is one of the more ambitious efforts aimed at ending Syria's six-year conflict.

It provides for a ceasefire, rapid deliveries of humanitarian aid and the return of refugees after "de- escalation zones" are created across stretches of eight Syrian provinces.

More than 320,000 people have been killed since Syria's conflict erupted in March 2011.

Published Date: May 08, 2017 16:36 PM | Updated Date: May 08, 2017 16:38 PM

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