Russia Must Bring Assad, “Pragmatic” Opposition to Table to Set Safe Zones

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The Cipher Brief

Russia Must Bring Assad, “Pragmatic” Opposition to Table to Set Safe Zones

Early last month, Russia put forward a “de-escalation” plan for Syria under which major opposition-held territories in western parts of the country, including northwestern Idlib province, northern Homs countryside, the eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus, and parts of southern Syria, would become safe zones and fall under ceasefires to be enforced by the so-called guarantors -- Russia, Iran, and Turkey. Even though neither the Syrian opposition factions nor their Western or Persian Gulf backers have accepted the plan, the three guarantors declared these safe zones to be in effect as of May 5.

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