US Ready to Discuss Syrian No-Fly Zones With Russia, Tillerson Says

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin began their first official meeting after 4 p.m. local time. They spoke briefly to reporters before starting a closed discussion

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin began their first official meeting after 4 p.m. local time. They spoke briefly to reporters before starting a closed discussion

"They didn't warn us that it might be devoted to a reaction to our considerations timed for the meeting of Presidents (Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump) in Hamburg".

- In September, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced a similar truce, but it quickly disintegrated.

The United States, Russia and Jordan reached a ceasefire and "de-escalation agreement" for southwestern Syria set to take effect on Sunday.

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands
President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands

"If our two countries work together to establish stability on the ground, it will lay a foundation for progress on the settlement of Syria's political future", Tillerson said in a statement ahead of this week's Group of 20 summit in Germany.

Moscow is staging a bombing campaign in support of Washington's foe President Bashar al-Assad. The United States largely blames Assad for the six years of civil war and has called on him to step down. Washington hit a Syrian air base with a missile strike in April after accusing the Assad government of killing dozens of civilians in a chemical attack.

The United States and Russia have reached agreement on a cease-fire in southwest Syria, three USA officials said Friday as President Donald Trump held his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. A month later, Putin announced that Russian Federation was pulling out of the deal amid a major Moscow-backed push by Syrian-government forces to retake territory captured by the Islamic State.

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The Trump administration has struggled to determine how actively to involve itself in Syria's civil war, beyond the USA -led fight against the Islamic State group there.

He said Moscow needs to make sure no faction in Syria "illegitimately re-takes or occupies areas" liberated from Islamic State or other groups.

In recent weeks, US forces have shot down a Syrian aircraft that got too close to USA forces as well drones believed connected to Iranian-backed forces aligned with Assad - another sign of US concern about Tehran's influence in Syria.

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Lavrov said that despite the questions over Tillerson's comments, Moscow saw any willingness by the U.S. to cooperate on Syria as a "step in the right direction".

"Now we're awaiting a reaction to our proposals", he said. "Russia is neither capable nor willing to give us what we want in Syria", Lister said. "Why do we think this time will be any different?"

Implications for Syria aside, the deal marks the biggest diplomatic achievement for the USA and Russian Federation since Trump took office.

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