Preserving the Southwest De-escalation Zone in Syria

Press Statement

Heather Nauert
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 14, 2018

The United States remains concerned by reports of impending Syrian government operations in southwest Syria within the boundaries of the de-escalation zone negotiated between the United States, Jordan, and the Russian Federation last year and reaffirmed between Presidents Trump and Putin in Da Nang, Vietnam in November. The United States remains committed to maintaining the stability of the southwest de-escalation zone and to the ceasefire underpinning it.

We reiterate that any Syrian government military actions against the southwest de-escalation zone risk broadening the conflict. We affirm again that the United States will take firm and appropriate measures in response to Syrian government violations in this area.

The ceasefire arrangement and southwest de-escalation zone were initiatives by Presidents Trump and Putin to de-escalate the Syrian conflict, save lives, and create conditions for the displaced to safely and voluntarily return to their homes. A military offensive by the Syrian regime into this ceasefire zone would defy these initiatives, which have been a success to date. It is vitally important that the three nations supporting the southwest de-escalation zone do everything they can to enforce and implement the understandings reached last year. Existing diplomatic channels have successfully monitored and de-escalated the situation in the southwest, avoiding any resumption of fighting for nearly a year. The ceasefire must continue to be enforced and respected.

Russia is duly responsible as a permanent member of the UN Security Council to use its diplomatic and military influence over the Syrian government to stop attacks and compel the government to cease further military offensives. We request that Russia fulfill its commitments in accordance with UNSCR 2254 and the southwest ceasefire arrangement.