On February 15, the negotiation committee of the opposition factions in the northern Homs countryside announced in an official statement that they had been formally informed by Russia that the de-escalation agreement in the northern Homs countryside is over.
According to the official statement, Russia refuses to extend the agreement as long as the opposition factions refuse to hold direct talks with representatives of the Damascus government. Moreover, the negotiation committee claimed that Russia had threatened them with a military operation if the de-escalation agreement was not extended under its conditions.
In repose to the Russian demands, the negotiation committee stressed that it will not hold any direct talks with the Damascus government and called on Turkey to deploy units of the Turkish Army and establish observation positions in the northern Homs countryside.
Currently, the opposition-held areas in the northern Homs countryside are fully besieged by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). Due to this, it is impossible for the Turkish Army to deploy units there without provoking a full-scale war with Damascus.
The de-escalation agreement in northern Homs has been violated on numerous occasions by the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Ahrar al-Sham and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). Nonetheless, the negotiation committee claimed that they had never violated the agreement.
Syrian pro-government activists viewed the negotiation committee call for Turkish support as a desperate maneuver to avoid an upcoming military operation of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the area.