Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Washington Looks at ‘Devil in Details’ of Syria’s ‘De-escalation Zones’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Syrian girl and her family wait to board buses for the rebel-held Idlib province in Barzeh. (AFP)

Beirut, New York – While the United Nations announced holding a new round of inter-Syrian talks in Geneva next Tuesday, Russia faced on Monday Western opposition against a draft resolution presented to the Security Council in support of the “de-escalation zones” in Syria.

The Russian-sponsored draft resolution seeks to internationalize the protocol signed with Iran and Turkey last Thursday, but the US said it would take a close look at the “devil in the details” to see if the proposal can work.

Western diplomats expressed their reservations to the Russian-sponsored draft resolution, considering it was still early to pass it before agreeing on the final arrangements related to the suggested safe zones.

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said on Monday his country would closely examine the “de-escalation zones” proposal, warning that “the devil is always in the details.”

Mattis said: “So we have to look at the details, see if we can work them out, see if we think they’re going to be effective.”

Last week, Russia, Turkey and Iran signed during the Astana talks on a Syrian settlement a memorandum to establish four safe zones in the country. The memorandum entered into force on Friday.

Meanwhile, in Damascus, buses carried on Monday more than 1,000 residents, including opposition fighters and their families, from the Barzeh neighborhood to the Idlib province, northern Syria.

Rami Abdul Rahman, director of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Asharq Al-Awsat that around 1,100 people left the Barzeh neighborhood on Monday.

Abdul Rahman expected that in the coming days, the final number would reach 8,000, including fighters and civilians.

He also said that at a later stage, the Syrian regime’s plan to expatriate residents could reach the nearby al-Qaboun neighborhood, where regime forces escalated their military operations ahead of pushing opposition factions to sign a new truce.

Abdul Rahman said the regime currently plans to empty the capital from any force that rejects to sign a truce, in preparation to devoting themselves to fighting ISIS militants in the camp of Yarmouk and in Hajar al-Aswad.