Russia and the United States are close to reaching a final agreement on the conflict in Syria, the Associated Press (AP) reported on November 10 citing US officials.
“If clinched, the deal was expected to be announced by President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vietnam on Friday, four U.S. officials said. The United States has been reluctant to schedule a formal meeting for the leaders unless they have a substantive agreement to announce,” AP’s article reads. “The U.S.-Russian agreement being discussed would focus on three elements, officials said: “deconfliction” between the U.S. and Russian militaries, reducing violence in the civil war and reinvigorating U.N.-led peace talks. The officials weren’t authorized to discuss the deliberations and requested anonymity.”
The report added that the expected agreement “also seeks to build on progress in establishing “de-escalation zones” in Syria that have calmed some parts of the country.”
“A key U.S. concern, shared by close ally Israel, is the presence of Iranian-backed militias in Syria that have exploited the vacuum of power. The United States and Israel have been seeking ways to prevent forces loyal to Iran — Israel’s archenemy — from establishing a permanent presence. One idea hinges on a “buffer zone” along Israel’s border with Syria.
A third element of the deal would reaffirm support for the United Nations effort being run out of Geneva to seek a political transition in Syria and resolve the civil war. The United States and Russia have been at odds for years over whether Assad could be allowed to remain in power in a future Syrian government,” AP says further in its article.
According to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Putin and Trump won’t hold a formal meeting due to scheduling conflicts on “both sides.” However, Trump and Putin still could have a less formal encounter while in Vietnam.