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Russia shrugs off proposal for no-fly zone in Syria, says it will need approval from Damascus

February 18, 2016 at 9:50 am

Russian Deputy Foreign Ministry Gennady Gatilov has shrugged off German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s proposal to consider a no-fly zone over Syria, saying it would require Damascus’ consent and Security Council approval.

Merkel renewed on Wednesday her proposal for a no-fly zone in Syria, saying it could be done by an agreement between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, his backers and the coalition fighting Daesh.

Merkel had said in an interview published on 15 February that it would be “helpful” if there were areas where no side would carry out aerial bombardments – “a kind of no-fly zone”.

Gatilov’s statement comes as Russian warplanes continue to strike militant positions around Aleppo in support of a Syrian army offensive. Russia will not halt airstrikes in Syria as part of the plan to implement a “cessation of hostilities” agreed between world leaders in Munich.

Gatilov also said that the ceasefire committee will be holding a meeting on Sunday attended by experts from Russia, the US and other “influential” countries, according to Russia Today.

He added that the implementation of the Munich agreement had started, noting that the team tasked with delivering humanitarian aid to besieged areas had held its first meeting and will meet again on Friday.