Syria for two: what’s behind the Kerry proposal about the division into zones of influence

The proposal on the failure of the talks

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on February 25 at a press conference in Moscow called “simplistic” Washington’s offer on division of the territory of Syria on “area authorized military action.” According to the plan of the state Department, which was presented by U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry in conversation with journalists the New York Times on April 23 that Russia would fight terrorists in one part of Syria, the United States — on the other, with both countries together would monitor compliance with the ceasefire.

“The recent statement by John Kerry that we need to agree where your, our, and these areas are not to touch, but between them all to bomb … that is a bit simplistic. Still fundamental is the fight against terrorists,” Lavrov said (quoted by “RIA Novosti”).

The Kerry proposal was followed by the actual failure of the next round of Syrian peace talks in Geneva. Thursday, April 21, the delegation formed in Riyadh supported by the West of the Higher Committee on negotiations (WCP) has suspended participation in the consultation and left the town. The reason given was named to the refusal of Damascus to adhere to the originally stated objectives of the negotiations and violated the ceasefire, in force since February 27.

Emissaries of President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition since April 13 negotiated not directly but through the mediation of UN special envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura. During the negotiations, they had to decide how to develop a new Constitution, to form a transitional government to organize parliamentary and presidential elections.

The fate of the President remains a stumbling block in the negotiations. CPSU calls for the resignation of Assad. Damascus this scenario categorically rejects: the Deputy foreign Minister of Syria Faisal Mekdad in an interview with the Associated Press on April 13, said that such a scenario can result in coup and therefore the opposition have to leave his “dream” of a transitional government. One of the members of the governmental delegation of OSI Omar accused the opposition that they do not have their own opinions, but in fact the talks will be held “with the British, the French and the Americans.”

The talks were held against the backdrop of the recent Syrian parliamentary elections, the CPSU decided to boycott, considering them illegitimate. At the same time de Mistura confirmed the reports about escalation of hostilities involving government forces in Aleppo and Hama and in the suburbs of Damascus. According to Human Rights Watch, only from 13 to 15 April in the province of Aleppo have fled at least 30 thousand people.

The Russian official familiar with the course of the Syrian talks, in an interview with RBC said that Moscow does not see any significant progress on Syrian peace talks: “irreconcilable opposition did not distance themselves from terrorist groups,” said the interlocutor of RBC.

Don’t see in Moscow and progress in negotiations with the U.S. on strengthening coordination in Syria: the parties continue to exchange information, but not intelligence; the us military does not agree to the coordination with the Russian.

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“Armor”, “alligator” and “the Hunter”: what Russia has left in Syria

The group of the Russian aerospace defence forces at Syrian base after Hamim direct order of President Vladimir Putin in three days decreased three times, from industry experts and sources RBC…

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The division of labor

“We are not going to sit and watch as [Russia] supports the regime [Assad] fights with the opposition and says: “It works”. We, obviously, are not so stupid as to allow this”, said Kerry in an interview with the New York Times. President Barack Obama on Monday in Hamburg has announced that it will increase posted in Syria to combat the ISIS contingent of special forces from 50 to 300 people.

The US is clearly concerned about the actions of Russian troops in Syria. In mid-March, President Vladimir Putin ordered to withdraw the main contingent of the Armed forces, but Washington does not believe in the final withdrawal of Moscow from the scene. Sources Wall Street Journal in the us administration argue that Russia moving artillery units into areas in the North of Syria, where government forces, and suggest that amid the tense situation in the negotiations in Geneva, Moscow and Damascus is prepared to resume full-scale hostilities.

In the administration of escalation on the Syrian issue would prefer to go back in October of last year, when the Russian operation in Syria began, Obama said he would not allow slipping to a situation of “war by proxy” with Moscow. But the intentions of Moscow and its allies in Washington is highly questionable. The sides of the Wall Street Journal at the Pentagon claim that the intensity of the Russian missile and bomb strikes on Assad’s opponents has increased in recent days, though lower than before the announcement of the ceasefire, about ten times a day vs 100.

It is not excluded that, following this confrontation, the Assad regime is forcing Russia as his ally to take his side. “The regime plays in a very, very tricky game,” said Reuters expert American Middle East Institute’s Charles Lister.

As stated by Kerry, Washington proposes to organize in Syria new constantly operating system of monitoring compliance with the ceasefire, which stipulates the distribution of responsibilities between the U.S. and Russia — the so-called safe zones, which should not be used for fighting and which must not be crossed, and the establishment of zones of military operations against militants of the banned in Russia “Islamic state” and “Dzhabhat EN-Nusra”.

Now the observance of the ceasefire following two centers: the Russian airbase Hamim, located near Latakia, and American in the Jordanian capital Oman. In these centres receives all information about violations of ceasefire.

How does Moscow

After Lavrov Kerry ideas on the division of zones of responsibility was rejected by the Russian parliamentarians of the relevant committees.

First Deputy Chairman of the international Affairs Committee of the state Duma Leonid Kalashnikov can’t even compare the division of responsibility zones in Syria with the situation of occupation and under post-war Germany, while authorities in Damascus had not “invited the U.S. to fight” in their territory. Such a division will inevitably lead to the disintegration of the country, the Director of the Center for the study of the Middle East and Central Asia, ex-state Duma Deputy semen Bagdasarov. “The Kerry proposal is a cynical and arrogant. In translation into Russian — “let’s divide Syria,” — he said RBC.

The head of the Federation Council Committee on defense and security Viktor Ozerov also did not support the Kerry proposal. “Finding the zones of responsibility do not matter. We as guarantors to the ceasefire need to be sure that this happens in all areas of Syria. For this reason, it is no coincidence that we invited the Americans to cooperate with us in the information center in Baghdad, and now we are ready to cooperate with them,” he concludes.

Only the Chairman of the Duma Committee on defense Vladimir Komoedov noted that the distribution of efforts of Russia and the USA in Syria is long overdue: “If this had been done before, the fight against ISIS would be conducted more efficiently” (quoted by “Interfax”).