Mattis: US to Examine Syria Safe Zones

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the U.S. will closely examine Russia’s plan to establish “de-escalation” zones in Syria.

“The devil is always in the details,” Mattis said Monday when asked about the initiative. “We will look at the proposal, see if it can work.”

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.

Representatives of the three Syria cease-fire guarantor nations signed a memorandum to that effect at the end of the latest round of peace talks in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.

The proposal calls for taking measures to reduce fighting in four designated areas of Syria where rebels not associated with Islamic State terrorists control significant territory.

The initiative went into effect at midnight Friday. Russia said the zones are closed to aircraft from the U.S.-led coalition.

Moscow correspondent Dan Schearf contributed to this report

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