Four Syrian safe zones due to start midnight, over rebel objections

Russia's defense ministry said Friday that the deal to set up safe zones in Syria reached in Kazakhstan between Russia, Iran and the Assad regime, will go into effect at midnight local time. Turkey agreed to act as a guarantor. Moscow said the US, the UN and Saudi Arabia also support the idea. However, it is unclear whether all the rebel groups will abide by the “de-escalation” mandated in those zones because theyreject Iran’s involvement as a guarantor. The US is also skeptical about Iran’s role. An official commented that Iran had “only contributed to the violence, not stopped it.” DEBKAfile: Israel continues to stay silent at the prospect of Iranian officers being posted on its border as guarantor of the safe zone in southern Syria.

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