Russia Wants US to Clarify Syria ‘No-Fly Zones’ Proposal
Russia says it has asked the US to provide more details about its proposal to work together with Moscow to set up “no-fly zones” in Syria, according to PressTV.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had on Wednesday said Washington was “prepared to explore the possibility of establishing with Russia joint mechanisms for ensuring stability, including no-fly zones” in the Arab country.
A day later, his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov said, “We have asked (for information). We haven’t yet received a response to the question about which no-fly zones they have in mind, because no-one was ever talking about them.”
Moscow is also still waiting for the US to respond to its own proposals on Syria which were presented to Washington a few months ago, Lavrov added.
Since 2015, Russia has been conducting cruise missile strikes and aerial attacks against terrorist positions in Syria at a request from the Syrian government. The US has been leading dozens of its allies in a military mission purportedly aimed rooting out Daesh since 2014.
Russia has suspended communications with the US, which used to be carried out via a hotline set up to prevent accidents over Syrian airspace.
The suspension of the military contact came after a US warplane hit a Syrian Su-22 aircraft with a missile last month. The US claimed that it had targeted the plane “in collective self-defense of coalition-partnered forces” in the city of Taqba in northern Syria
Moscow says Washington had failed to inform it about the hit through the hotline.
Lavrov further said that despite the standing questions over Tillerson’s comments, Moscow saw any willingness by the US to cooperate on Syria as a “step in the right direction.”
Russia is separately pushing through with a plan alongside Iran and Turkey to set up four de-escalation zones throughout Syria, where air strikes would be halted.
The three countries have been successfully mediating talks between the Syrian government and opposition in the Kazakh capital of Astana since January.
Also on Thursday, the Russian foreign minister visited Paris, where he discussed the Syria crisis with his French opposite number, Jean-Yves Le Drian.
The two sides stressed the need for fighting terrorism in Syria as a common objective.
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