The new ceasefire in Greater Idlib is a “a test of Turkey’s intentions,” Syria’s representative to the Astana talks, Bashar Jaafari, said during a press conference in the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan, on August 2, warning that Damascus patience has limits.
The Syrian diplomat went on to accuse Ankara of violating previous agreement and to reveal the numbers of Turkish forces deployed in the Syria.
“The Turkish regime deployed inside Syria territory 10,655 military personnel, including officers, warrant officers and soldiers, It sent to Syria territory 166 battle tanks, 278 armored vehicles, 18 rocket launchers, 173 mortars, 73 vehicles armed with heavy machine guns and 41 anti-tank missile launchers in a clear violation of Astana agreement, which allows the establishment of 12 observation post of the Turkish Police with no more than 280 policemen,” Jaafari said, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).
Jaafari also noted that Ankara had appointed a Turkish governor for Syria’s Kurdish-populated region of Afrin as well as for the northern Syrian cities of A’zaz, Jarabulus and Marea.
Damascus had announced a conditional ceasefire in Greater Idlib a day earlier. Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and its allies accepted the ceasefire. However, they ignored the part saying that they should withdraw from the 20km demilitarized zone around Idlib.
Jaafar’s harsh statements against Turkey indicate that Damascus has little to no trust in Ankara, which had violated several agreements reached within the Astana process’ framework.