Russia Says Deal Will Bar Americans From Flying in Most of Syria’s Airspace

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BEIRUT, Lebanon — United States and allied aircraft will be banned from flying over much of Syria as part of a deal struck by Iran, Russia and Turkey to foster a cease-fire in the Syrian war, a senior Russian diplomat said Friday.

But a State Department spokesman later said that the agreement, which the United States did not sign, does not “preclude anyone from going after terrorists wherever they may be in Syria.” The spokesman, Edgar Vasquez, said Russian officials’ interpretation of their own agreement “makes no sense.”

A senior State Department official was at the talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, that led to the deal, which went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. The agreement aims to establish four “de-escalation zones,” where Syrian government and rebel forces are supposed to stop fighting each other.

The accord raised the prospect that after years of government opponents asking the United States and its allies for a no-fly zone to protect civilians from the Syrian military’s bombings, it could end up being Russia, Syria’s ally, that imposes one.

But there are many factors that could undermine the deal, as with previous cease-fires. It has not been accepted by all opposition groups, and the Syrian government reserved the right to continue fig

The Russian statements could also signal an effort to limit American strikes against Syrian government forces like the one carried out in retaliation for a chemical attack last month. They suggested that United States warplanes could be barred from all of the most important areas contested by the government and rebels that are not affiliated with the Islamic State.

The Russian diplomat, Aleksandr Lavrentiev, suggested that Russian and Turkish warplanes would, like the United States-led coalition, be prohibited from flying over the zones.

But Mr. Lavrentiev, Russia’s special envoy on Syria, seemed to sketch out a broader geographical no-fly zone for American and coalition military planes. He said they would be allowed to fly only in eastern Syria over Islamic State-held areas, apparently excluding the entire western spine of the country.

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