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Syria rejects UN monitors for ‘de-escalation’ deal

JEDDAH: Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moallem said on Monday his country would reject any UN role in monitoring the implementation of four “de-escalation” zones.
“We do not accept a role for the UN or international forces to monitor the agreement,” Al-Moallem told reporters in Damascus.
Regime backers Russia and Iran and opposition supporter Turkey reached a deal on Thursday on four “de-escalation zones” in Syria where the regime and the opposition will halt hostilities.
The deal says those areas would be bordered by “security zones” with checkpoints and observation posts “ensured by the forces of the guarantors by consensus,” but that “third-party” monitors could also be deployed.
Al-Moallem said there could be a role “as the Russian guarantor has said, for military police,” but it was unclear if he was referring to Syrian or foreign units.
Al-Moallem said Syrian regime forces would respond “decisively” to any violation or attack by the opposition.
“There are still logistical details that will be discussed in Damascus, and we will see the extent of commitment to this agreement,” he added.
The Russia-Iran-Turkey deal became effective over the weekend and brought a general reduction in violence across the country, but clashes continued, particularly in central Syria. There are still questions about how it will be enforced.
Al-Moallem said the regime hopes the agreement will, as a start, separate armed opposition groups from extremist groups such as the Nusra Front.
“It is the duty of these armed groups to force the Nusra Front and others to leave their areas in order for this area to become an area of de-escalation,” he said.
Al-Moallem warned neighboring Jordan not to send troops to Syria. He said Damascus does not want confrontation, but “if Jordanian forces enter our land without coordination with Syria, we will consider them hostile forces.”
Jordan said it had no intention of sending any Jordanian forces into Syria. However, it said it will take all measures to counter any threat to its security and stability coming from Syria.
Jordan’s former minister of state for media affairs and communication, Nabil Al-Sharif, told Arab News on Monday: “Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, Jordan has been maintaining a steady political stance, calling for the unity of the Syrian territories and for a political solution to the six-year-long war in that country.”
As Al-Sharif said during his meeting with media representatives in late April, King Abdallah clearly emphasized that no Jordanian soldier would be deployed beyond the border on any combat mission, refuting claims that Jordan was planning a military intervention in Syria in cooperation with regional and international parties.
In April, Syrian President Bashar Assad told Russia’s Sputnik news agency that his government was aware of Jordan’s plans to deploy troops in Syria in coordination with the US.
Jordan’s minister of state for media affairs, Mohammad Momani, said Assad’s claim was “far from reality.”
Momani added: “Jordan has been a target of terrorist attacks. Terrorist groups active in Syria — such as Daesh, Al-Qaeda and Jabhat Al-Nusrah — committed these attacks. Jordan has every right to ensure the safety of its lands and its citizens. The kingdom does not have to send any troops into Syria to ensure that that objective is secured. Rather, the government has been coordinating with active tribal groups inside Syria in that regard.”
He continued: “The Syrian regime’s repeated accusation of Jordan reflects its isolation from the rest of the world. There are several international and regional actors on the ground in Syria, including the Russians, the Iranians and the Lebanese Hezbollah, let alone the thousands of terrorists affiliated with terrorist groups. Instead of making this illogical statement, it (the Syrian regime) should work with the international community to reach a reasonable solution to end the war that has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions.”
— With input from AP

JEDDAH: Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moallem said on Monday his country would reject any UN role in monitoring the implementation of four “de-escalation” zones.
“We do not accept a role for the UN or international forces to monitor the agreement,” Al-Moallem told reporters in Damascus.
Regime backers Russia and Iran and opposition supporter Turkey reached a deal on Thursday on four “de-escalation zones” in Syria where the regime and the opposition will halt hostilities.
The deal says those areas would be bordered by “security zones” with checkpoints and observation posts “ensured by the forces of the guarantors by consensus,” but that “third-party” monitors could also be deployed.
Al-Moallem said there could be a role “as the Russian guarantor has said, for military police,” but it was unclear if he was referring to Syrian or foreign units.
Al-Moallem said Syrian regime forces would respond “decisively” to any violation or attack by the opposition.
“There are still logistical details that will be discussed in Damascus, and we will see the extent of commitment to this agreement,” he added.
The Russia-Iran-Turkey deal became effective over the weekend and brought a general reduction in violence across the country, but clashes continued, particularly in central Syria. There are still questions about how it will be enforced.
Al-Moallem said the regime hopes the agreement will, as a start, separate armed opposition groups from extremist groups such as the Nusra Front.
“It is the duty of these armed groups to force the Nusra Front and others to leave their areas in order for this area to become an area of de-escalation,” he said.
Al-Moallem warned neighboring Jordan not to send troops to Syria. He said Damascus does not want confrontation, but “if Jordanian forces enter our land without coordination with Syria, we will consider them hostile forces.”
Jordan said it had no intention of sending any Jordanian forces into Syria. However, it said it will take all measures to counter any threat to its security and stability coming from Syria.
Jordan’s former minister of state for media affairs and communication, Nabil Al-Sharif, told Arab News on Monday: “Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, Jordan has been maintaining a steady political stance, calling for the unity of the Syrian territories and for a political solution to the six-year-long war in that country.”
As Al-Sharif said during his meeting with media representatives in late April, King Abdallah clearly emphasized that no Jordanian soldier would be deployed beyond the border on any combat mission, refuting claims that Jordan was planning a military intervention in Syria in cooperation with regional and international parties.
In April, Syrian President Bashar Assad told Russia’s Sputnik news agency that his government was aware of Jordan’s plans to deploy troops in Syria in coordination with the US.
Jordan’s minister of state for media affairs, Mohammad Momani, said Assad’s claim was “far from reality.”
Momani added: “Jordan has been a target of terrorist attacks. Terrorist groups active in Syria — such as Daesh, Al-Qaeda and Jabhat Al-Nusrah — committed these attacks. Jordan has every right to ensure the safety of its lands and its citizens. The kingdom does not have to send any troops into Syria to ensure that that objective is secured. Rather, the government has been coordinating with active tribal groups inside Syria in that regard.”
He continued: “The Syrian regime’s repeated accusation of Jordan reflects its isolation from the rest of the world. There are several international and regional actors on the ground in Syria, including the Russians, the Iranians and the Lebanese Hezbollah, let alone the thousands of terrorists affiliated with terrorist groups. Instead of making this illogical statement, it (the Syrian regime) should work with the international community to reach a reasonable solution to end the war that has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions.”
— With input from AP

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