Published: Fri, July 07, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

United States could work with Russian Federation on Syria no-fly zones

United States could work with Russian Federation on Syria no-fly zones

Russia has asked the United States for more information after comments by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that Washington was ready to discuss with Moscow no-fly zones in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday.

He said the US-Russia co-operation would create stability in Syria as US-backed forces continue their assault on the Islamic State group.

The secretary's statement also floated the idea that, if the creation of such zones is successful, "it will lay a foundation for progress on the settlement of Syria's political future".

In a wide-ranging statement issued two days ahead of President Donald Trump's first face-to-face with Vladimir Putin, Tillerson said Russian Federation had a "special responsibility" to help stabilize the war-ravaged country.

According to Russian Duma's International Affairs Committee Chairman Leonid Slutsky, they are willing to discuss imposing no-fly zones in Syria with the aim of fighting extremist groups and not President Assad's regime.

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Almost three months ago, Tillerson had insisted that Assad would have to leave office because of his alleged use of chemical weapons.

In March, Tillerson said the United States would set up "interim zones of stability" to help refugees return home in the next phase of the fight against Islamic State and al Qaeda in Syria and Iraq.

All of those, likely talking points on Friday at an expected meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 in Germany. "We call upon all parties, including the Syrian government and its allies, Syrian opposition forces, and Coalition forces carrying out the battle to defeat ISIS, to avoid conflict with one another and adhere to agreed geographical boundaries for military de-confliction and protocols for de-escalation". "In light of this, the fifth worldwide high-level meeting, which ended in Astana yesterday, made it possible to take yet another step in this direction", she said.

USA -backed forces have surrounded Daesh stronghold in Syria, the city of Raqqa. Tillerson clarified that the U.S.no longer saw a future for Assad at the helm of Syria, but would instead focus on defeating ISIS in Syria.

The remarks offer the latest stop on a bumpy USA policy ride that has left global observers with a case of diplomatic whiplash as they try to figure out whether the Trump administration will insist that Assad step down from power.

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