Syrian opposition asks U.N. for border ‘refuge zones’

Syria’s main opposition coalition on Monday urged U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura to include setting up border “refuge zones” in his plans to ease the country’s conflict.

“The working plan must include… establishing secure zones” on the borders with Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, the National Coalition said in a statement on its website.

De Mistura has proposed setting up ceasefire zones to allow for aid deliveries and lay the groundwork for peace talks, singling out the northern city of Aleppo as a “good candidate” for such a freeze.

Such zones should “exclude regime forces, its militias and allies” and establish no-fly zones to protect civilians, the National Coalition said, also calling for the release of prisoners.

On November 11, de Mistura said after talks with President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus that Syrian authorities had responded with “constructive interest” to U.N. proposals to suspend fighting in Aleppo.

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