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Syrian Opposition Group Slams Russian Proposed De-Escalation Deal | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Participants of Syria peace talks attend a meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan.( Reuters File Photo

The main Syrian opposition umbrella group criticized a Russian proposal to establish “de-escalation zones” in Syria as vague and illegitimate and said it rejected the role of Iran as guarantor in any deal.

The Riyadh-based HNC, which includes political and armed groups, cautioned against attempts to “partition the country through vague meanings of what has been called … ‘de-escalation’ zones,” in a statement on Friday.

Iran and Turkey agreed on Thursday to Russia’s proposal, but the signed memorandum has not been published, leaving its details unclear. The Russian Defense Ministry said the deal will come into force as of midnight.

“We oppose the division of Syria and we are not an active party to the agreement signed,” said opposition spokesman Oussama Abu Zaid in a press conference in Astana, calling for a timetable for the departure of foreign militias from Syria.

“We were surprised by the dangerous Russian escalation and its bombardment on the liberated areas,” he stated, noting that Russia has broken its promises to stop bombing and stop supporting Assad.

“We have received promises to stop the shelling on the liberated areas before our participation in the negotiations,” he asserted, adding that “we attended the negotiations with the aim of stopping the shedding of Syrian blood.”

Osama Abu Zaid stressed the need for the international community to take practical measures to reduce Iran’s influence and ambitions in Syria.

The spokesman refused to respond to a question by a Syrian regime Channel on fighting the Nusra front, while a member of the delegation answered by saying, “We will fight all those who kill the Syrians, either with explosive barrels or by chemical weapons or arms.”