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U.S.-Established Syria Safe Zones Threaten Confrontation with Russia | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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FILE PHOTO: An internally displaced Syrian boy plays with a wheel in Jrzinaz camp, in the southern part of Idlib, Syria, June 21, 2016. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi/File Photo

Beirut, Moscow, Ankara- The Syrian Opposition urged United States President Donald Trump to follow through with the promise of establishing a safe zone within Syria. Political analysts, however, doubted that the step might drag Washington deeper into the Syria conflict, add to the rifts in Syria and eventually bring about a confrontation with Russia.

Moscow, however, kept an awkward silence saying that it was not referred to on the subject.

Civilians residing in Syrian Opposition areas, hammered by regime bombardment, have long pleaded the establishment of no fly zones. Hints on the U.S. Trump administration moving forward and contributing to the realization of such zones triggered a wave of cautious optimism within the opposition.

“Six-year-old claims that we have seen nothing off yet—that is why we wait actions first,” said Syrian Colonel Fares al Biyoush implying that although hope is present, actions remain to speak louder than words.

The Bashar al-Assad-led regime on the other hand made no immediate comments on limiting airstrikes, or complying with future-established safe zones. Given the regime’s strive for comprehensive power over Syria in whole, Assad will most likely disregard and inhibit such an initiative. Powers backing Assad, like Iran and proxy Lebanon-based Hezbollah, will also fight of the notion of any U.S. intervention.

President Trump’s push to create safe zones in Syria could force him to make some risky decisions about how far to go to protect refugees, including shooting down Syrian or Russian aircraft or committing thousands of U.S. troops, experts said.

More so, if a no-fly zone is established, without negotiating some agreement with Russia, Trump will have to decide whether to give the U.S. military the authority to shoot down Syrian or Russian aircraft if they pose a threat to people in that zone.