Syrian deal: what was agreed by Russia and the United States

After nearly six months of negotiations, Russia and the United States reached an agreement on Syria. Agreement on Friday finally agreed to the Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry. The plan, according to Kerry, will reduce the level of violence, to alleviate suffering and restore movement to a political settlement of the conflict. “We believe that if the plan is executed, it will be a turning point [in the conflict],” said Kerry.

Agreements have been secured after a meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama in the Chinese Hangzhou last week and the ensuing round of negotiations of Ministers.

The mechanics of the plan

The full text of the five documents not published, citing the sensitivity of the topic and the desire of many players to derail the deal. However, the basic points of the plan Lavrov and Kerry announced at a press conference following the talks. The first step will be a cease-fire for 48 hours from 12 September — the day of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha. If the truce is observed for the first two days, it will be extended for another 48 hours, after which it should be indefinite.

The Syrian air force will not carry out combat missions in areas controlled by the moderate opposition, to the agreement. The boundaries of these areas shall be agreed by Moscow and Washington. The Syrian military will continue to strike the terrorist groups ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra” (both banned in Russia).

This arrangement Kerry called the key. According to him, it is the continuation of the air attacks the Assad regime has undermined previous ceasefire declared in February. Under the guise of fighting with Jabhat al-Nusra” military al-Assad struck at positions of the moderate rebels that provoked their response to the fighting, explained the Secretary of state.

After seven days of the cease-fire, Russia and the United States will create in Syria a Joint Executive center in which the military, and the intelligence agencies of the two countries will focus on the practical issues of differentiation of terrorists and the moderate opposition, said Lavrov. Already agreed upon areas for which the Russian space forces and the USAF will be coordinated strikes, while Assad aircraft to operate in these territories will not. While Russia and the United States only informed each other about the flight to avoid incidents.

The decision on aviation of Assad and the creation of a single center, Kerry called a guarantee that the current agreement on Syria will be better in February, which almost failed.

The parties have separately agreed on how to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Aleppo. Castello road, the main traffic artery should become a demilitarized area, said Kerry.

Lavrov and Kerry also drew attention to the fact that the military of the USA and Russia will conduct a joint struggle against the “an-Nusra”. On Friday, Lavrov reiterated the old claim of Russia to the USA: Americans, he said, saving “Dzhabhat EN-Nusra” and bombed it to use it to overthrow the Assad regime. “Pursue “an-Nusra” is not a concession to someone. This corresponds to the interests of the United States to strike at al-Qaida and its affiliate in Syria,” — said Kerry.

Conflicting interests

Agreement was difficult because of the situation on the ground and involvement in the Syrian conflict many external players with conflicting interests, said Kerry and Lavrov at the press conference. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his representatives the agreement the US and Russia over the two days has not commented. “The Syrian leadership is aware of us with these arrangements and are ready to fulfill them. It supports what we have agreed with the United States,” Lavrov said on Friday. However, the weekend before the official date of the cessation of hostilities, aviation of Assad inflicted air strikes on the areas of Idlib and Aleppo.

The agreement was supported by Iran and the Lebanese movement Hezbollah — Assad’s allies. The representative of the Iranian foreign Ministry Hussein Jaberi Ansari said that Iran supports any cease-fire and peace plan to end the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Support for the ceasefire groups Hezbollah and groups of volunteers from Iran and Iraq, told the TV channel “al-Mayadin”. The political leadership of Hezbollah has not made any official statements about it.

Turkey the decision of Russia and the United States supported and continues its operation “Shield of the Euphrates in Syrian territory.

Syrian armed opposition supported the truce, but with reservations. Armed groups belonging to the opposition Free Syrian army (FSA), ready to observe the ceasefire under the condition of its implementation by the authorities of Syria and Russia, said “RIA Novosti” the representative of the SSA on legal issues Osama Abu Zeid. “The group welcomed the truce and welcomed the assistance, but we have concerns whether the sanctions against the regime if he would not follow the agreements,” Reuters quoted Zachary Malagigi of the Aleppo brigade “Pustakam”.

United States, according to the letter of the U.S. special envoy on Syria, Michael Ratna, I urge all opposition members to cease cooperation with the “an-Nusra”. Otherwise, the opposition will be serious consequences, he warns in the letter, the text of which is quoted by Reuters.

Unclear is the solution of the Kurdish question, draws the attention of the chief researcher, Institute of Oriental studies Irina Zvyagelskaya: the agreement directly it are not affected. Perhaps, the parties discussed the possibility of including a separate Kurdish delegation in the negotiation process, the expert believes. The status of Turkey is not described in existing agreements. Earlier, the President of the country Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with leaders of the United States and Russia to discuss the truce. In addition, the Turkish President talked about creating a no-fly zone over the territory of 600 sq km at the Northern border of Syria. On the no-fly zone, not a speech, said Zvyagelskaya, pointing to negative for Russia, the experience of no-fly regime in Libya. “If Turkey can strengthen the border, really to make so that it ceased to be open to all kinds of terrorists, who there plied, it will help the ceasefire,” — said the expert.

Risks to the transaction

Challenging to perform would be to the point about the division of territories, says Zvyagelskaya: it is unclear how happens physical separation of the moderate opposition from terrorists. According to her, there are fears that the territory that will leave the moderate group falls under the control of one of the parties to the conflict — the Syrian army, the Kurds, or the “Islamic state” (banned in Russia). “Those who are ready for a political process needs to go from where are the terrorists. Those who will resist the truce, go beyond it. Against them will continue military action,” — explains the principle of separation of Zvyagelskaya.

While it is also unclear how it will be coordinated Russian and American military, how will the joint staff, and whether policies to influence the actions of military personnel in the operation, says the President of the International center for geopolitical analysis Leonid Ivashov. “The Syrian army has not fulfilled a number of serious problems. Despite the fatigue and lack of strength they needed to fulfill them”, — said Ivashov, stating that it is first and foremost about Aleppo. He also points to the difficulties that may arise with the suppression of “an-Nusra” in July 2016, the group renounced Association with al-Qaeda, changed its name to “Jabhat Fatah al-sham” and joined the moderate opposition in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo. Lavrov and Kerry talked about what the name change does not change the relationship to actions of terrorists.