Syria Daily: Russia & US Discuss “De-Escalation Zone” in Southwest


US-Russian discussion is first to exclude Iran from consideration of de-escalation zones


Russia and the US are holding talks on creation of a “de-escalation zone” in southwestern Syria, but are excluding Moscow’s ally Iran.

“Western diplomats and regional officials” said the Russian and US special envoys for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev and Michael Ratney, and other staff have met at least twice in the Jordanian capital Amman in the past two weeks and will confer again.

The areas under consideration are parts of Quneitra Province and Daraa Province, along the borders with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and with Jordan. It is unclear if these include Daraa city, where pro-Assad forces have been carrying out an intense bombardment to hold back a rebel advance this spring.

A “Western intelligence source” claimed that the escalation of the pro-Assad bombing, shelling, and rocket attacks are trying to pre-empt any US-Russian agreement.


The talks are distinctive in their exclusion of Iran, who has joined Russia in propping up the Assad regime. The Islamic Republic reluctantly joined Russia and Turkey in early May in a plan for four de-escalation zones covering part of northwest Syria and suburbs of Damascus.

The US had no role in that plan, put forward at political talks in the Kazakh capital Astana.

However, the Americans are supporting Israel in its desire to keep Iran and its allies such as Hezbollah well away from the border with the Golan Heights. The Israelis have carried out airstrikes and missile attacks, in one case killing Iranian and Hezbollah officers, to deter the establishment of any position in southwest Syria.

“Iran and its proxies have to be out of this zone. This is key to the deal being proposed,” a Western official said.

However, “two senior diplomats” expressed doubt that Russia can hold Iran and Hezbollah.

TOP PHOTO: Israeli soldiers observe clashes between Syrian rebels and Assad regime forces in Quneitra Province, May 9, 2014 (EPA)

Did US Use White Phosphorus Near Raqqa?

The US military may have admitted use of white phosphorus bombs, in support of the Kurds-led Syrian Democratic Forces’ offensive against the Islamic State-held city of Raqqa.

ISIS claimed on Thursday that white phosphorus was being dropped, and photographs indicated its use:


The Russian State outlet Sputnik declared on Friday that a US coalition spokesman responded to its inquiry:

As a matter of policy the Coalition does not discuss the employment of specific weapons and munition usage; however, in accordance with the law of armed conflict, white phosphorus rounds are used for screening, obscuring, and marking in a way that fully considers the possible incidental effects on civilians and civilian structures.

Under international law, white phosphorus cannot be used on areas populated by civilians.

The US-supported SDF finally entered the outskirts of Raqqa city this week, seven months after it launched its advance on ISIS’s central position in Syria.

See Syria Daily, June 8: Raqqa — UN Warning About Civilians as Offensive Escalates

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  1. “UN aid official Linda Tom said from Damascus, “We are receiving reports of air strikes in several locations in Raqqa.” She said from 50,000 to 100,000 people are trapped inside the city.”

    What the hell are these people still doing in Raqqa? They were given ample warning to leave the war zone. How can ISIS kidnap 50,000 to 100,000 people as human shields? I can only conclude that they provide logistical support to ISIS or are family and friends of ISIS members and are supporters of ISIS.

    • They have considerable popular support but media will never tell you that, they are incredibly biased when they repport about ISIS.

    • The southern joke can´t even speak for itself, they are the no more than the yankee cannon fodder against ISIS. Even the regime has more dignity than those “rebels”.

  2. From the Operation Inherent Resolve bulletin 6/8/2017: “As long as pro-regime forces are orientted toward Coalition and partnered forces the potential for conflict is escalated. Coaltion forces are oriented on ISIS in the Euphrates River Valley.”

    Another indication that the US is not just wanting to capture Raqqa, but the entire Euphrates river valley in Syria.

    So does this mean that eastern and southern Syria will come to be dominated by US trained FSA and the Kurds?

  3. “Fuat Hudaverdi‏ @fuadhud 15h15 hours ago

    30 min ago.
    Coalition warplanes struck 30 vehicle convoy of pro-Assad forces near Al-Tanaf.
    Waiting for details.”
    Is this strike number four, and a big one? If it carries on like this the Yanks will end up fighting on the side of the FSA with air support. How long before ass Ad sends in his planes to attack the coalition?

    • Where is barbar btw. All the time he was telling us that US didn’t stop Assad’s massacres not to risk a war with Russia. As we now see US freely bombs Assad without taking russia into consideration when its interests require so.

      • Barbar probably has been busy working for Corbyn and Milne as their chief adviser for anti-Yankistan and Russian troll propaganda operations.

  4. Syrian Opposition delegation reached Rojava

    DÊRIK- A delegation from Syria’s Tomorrow Movement and National Renewal Movement reached Rojava on Saturday to hold meetings with Rojava-North Syria officials.

    On Saturday morning, the delegation that entered Rojava crossing Semalka corridor included the organizational office’s manager of Syria’s Tomorrow Ali al-Assi, the National Renewal Movement’ head Obyda al-Nahas, the manager of Cairo’s Tomorrow Office Qassem Khateeb, the Public Relations manager of the movement Saloum Muhemed, the movement office’s manager in Turkey Ismael Booby and the movement’s manager in Holier Hamad al-Aboud.

    The delegation was received by the administrative Aras Fattah in Selmalka corridor. Then, the delegation’s member headed towards Amoda city, and it is supposed that a series of meetings with Rojava and north of Syria’s officials would be held.

    The Syria’s Tomorrow Movement is an opponent Syrian movement that comprises independent intellectuals and politicians, and it was founded by the Syrian opponent Ahmad al-Jurba in Cairo in 2016.

    While the National Renewal Movement was constructed in February, 2017 by Obyda al-Nahas. 6/10/2017

  5. Scott, “Under international law, white phosphorus cannot be used on areas populated by civilians.”

    Isn’t this true of all munitions, dropping bombs and shelling? Is WP specifically disallowed in places where bombing and shelling is allowed?

    As for combat operations, there is no convention that prohibits the use of WP, as an incendiary, or as a smoke bomb to flush out enemy combatants, or as a method of illumination.

    There is some debate that WP can in certain circumstances be toxic to the combatant and damage internal organs due to the generation of phosphoric acid. But this is a rather odd use of the munition and not a very effective method of application of WP. The conventions on chemical weapons do not even mention this method as it is very rare and depends on many environmental conditions to be coincidental to the use.

  6. Reports say Abu Bkr al-Baghdadi killed in airstrike Saturday in Raqqa..
    Get ready for more suicide bombings.

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