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Moscow: US Participation in ‘De-escalation Zones’ Linked to Syrian Regime’s Approval | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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People inspect a hospital damaged following an air strike in the eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on May 1, 2017. Sameer Al-Doumy/AFP

Moscow, Beirut- Russia insisted Thursday that the US contribution to the memorandum on establishing de-escalation zones in Syria should be acceptable for Damascus in the first place.

Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told reporters in Sochi that it was still early to speak about a US participation in the de-escalation zones.”

He said: “This issue should be discussed with the Syrian side, because Syria is a sovereign state.”

On May 3-4, Russia, Turkey and Iran signed in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana a memorandum on setting up de-escalation zones in Syria.

Bogdanov uncovered that Russia was exerting efforts to solve disputes between Washington and Tehran, particularly on Syria.

He said the US recognizes the role played by Russia and Turkey in the Astana peace process, but looks at Iran as having an unconstructive role in the region, a role that Washington “can’t praise under any circumstances.”

The deputy foreign minister said: “Of course there are differences and difficulties between the two sides and this requires additional political and diplomatic efforts. We will continue to work.”

In a related development, military sources close to the Syrian regime said Russian forces in Aleppo took certain measures to prevent Assad’s forces, Lebanon’s “Hezbollah” militants, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards from entering the city, located in the north of the country.

The sources said that Russia is working to “gradually decrease the influence of Iran, which has invested all what has been achieved by Moscow to its benefit.”

Italian news agency, AKI, quoted sources as saying that the Russian military police in Moscow have arrested a number of intelligence officials working for the Syrian regime air force because they refused to respect Russia’s orders.

The sources also said that Russia had sent fighters from Ingushetia and Chechnya to Syria as military police.