Russia wants quick UN vote for Syria 'de-escalation zones'

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem attends a shared press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif following

Russia, Turkey and Iran agreed to a Moscow-proposed deal last week to establish the so-called "de-escalation" zones in Syria in an effort to end the six-year conflict.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Monday that his government will abide by the de-escalation zones' deal, warning, however, any breach by the rebels will be retaliated.

"The Russian side stressed that military police will be deployed and not peacekeepers under the supervision of the United Nations", to oversee the implementation of the deal, al-Moallem told reporters.

"The guarantors should help the factions which signed the cessation of hostilities agreement and desire to drive away Jabhat al-Nusra from their areas", al-Moallem added.

The minister gave no details on who would make up that police force.

Meanwhile, Syrian rebels and their families began evacuating from a district of Damascus for the first time yesterday, bringing the government closer to recapturing all of the capital.

Final details still need to be worked out, including questions on how the Syrians and rebels plan to tone down the violence.

Neither the Syrian government nor the opposition have signed the agreement.

"The agreement to halt air strikes on the designated rebel areas is already in forces and strikes have dropped off, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights", Alison reports.

The United Nations Security Council president says Russian Federation wants a vote early this week on a resolution supporting the deal.

But, Reuters reported, Mattis said, "The devil's always in the details" and it remains to be seen if the plan - brokered by Assad-backing Russian Federation and Iran and rebel-backing Turkey - will work.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the US owes it to the people of Syria to take a close look at the Russian proposal to create several "safe zones" in Syria. "So we'll look at the proposal and see if it can work", Mattis told reporters traveling with him to Copenhagen, Denmark. "Will it affect the fight against ISIS?" But he added: "I think the global community is united in the sense of wanting to see ISIS put on its back foot".

The Syrian official noted that it was "premature" to talk about whether the agreement would be successful, but noted that the government would "harshly" retaliate against any violation by rebels while the deal was in force.

Washington is not participating in the talks, created to end the conflict between the Syrian regime and rebel groups battling to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Russia, the main ally of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and principal author of the agreement, had suggested when it was announced last week that outside powers could play a monitoring role. He said the government aims to regain control of all of Syria, adding that areas bordering Iraq will be a priority.

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