A senior Russian diplomat rejected Wednesday a proposal by German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the establishment of a no-fly zone over Syria.

According to Russian media reports, Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said any no-fly zone should be first approved by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and endorsed by the UN Security Council.

Merkel on Wednesday denounced the humanitarian situation in Syria as “unacceptable” and reiterated her call for a no-fly zone.

“The current situation remains unacceptable and it would be helpful if there was an area in Syria over which nobody could fly attacks,” she told the German parliament.

Rejecting the idea of negotiating with the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, she said, “but if we were able to reach an agreement between anti- and pro-Assad forces on a kind of no-fly zone, in the sense of a sanctuary for the many refugees, then this would save many lives and aid the political process about Syria’s future.”

The German chancellor first put forward the idea in an interview published on February 15, without giving further details.

The no-fly zone proposal comes as the Syrian army, backed by Russian air cover, has made significant gains against Takfiri militants on several fronts, particularly in the strategic northern province of Aleppo.

Syria’s foreign-backed opposition has also called for a halt in Russia’s anti-terror campaign as a condition for its participation in the Geneva peace talks for the resolution of the ongoing crisis.

The foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria, which flared in March 2011, has claimed the lives of some 470,000 people and left 1.9 million injured, according to the Syrian Center for Policy Research.


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