Syrian rebels reject Russia, Turkey, Iran's 'Safe Zone' deal

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

London [U.K.], May 4 (ANI): Russia, Turkey and Iran signed an agreement calling for the creation of four "safe zones" in Syria, but the proposal was rejected by Syrian rebels, who walked out of a press conference in the Kazakh capital, Astana, where the deal was announced. An angry Syrian delegation claimed there was a huge gap between Russian promises and actions. They also said they would never accept Iran as a military guarantor of a peace process and also questioned whether the plan could lead to Syria's disintegration, as reported by The Guardian. The use of weapons would be forbidden in the safe zones, allowing for the restoration of infrastructure and essential services and the return of refugees. These zones include areas in the provinces of Idlib and Homs, the eastern Ghouta suburbs outside Damascus, and an area in the south of the country, all of which include significant rebel-controlled enclaves. The rebels had walked out of the talks on Wednesday, protesting about continued Syrian air force attacks, but returned on Thursday. Osama Abu Zaid, a spokesman for the Free Syrian Army, said, "We demand guarantee of aid entry, the immediate release of detainees and a cessation of hostilities," the Guardian reports. The Astana talks, which involve armed rebel groups, are the latest attempt to reduce the violence in Syria, where a six-year conflict has killed more than 400,000 people. Stop-start negotiations held under the auspices of the United Nations, involving the Syrian political opposition, are due to recommence in Geneva in May. (ANI)