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Military Operation In Idlib Demilitarized Zone Is Only Real Measure To Propel Reconciliation Process In Northwestern Syria?

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On March 6, a Turkish military convoy consistng of a dozen of military vehicles and up to 100 service members entered the Idlib de-escalation zone, according to local sources. These personnel and equipment reportedly moved towards Turkish observation posts, which had been established in southern Idlib, southwestern Idlib and northern Hama.

Despite these observation posts, Idlib militant groups, first of all Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Jaysh al-Izza and the Turkistan Islamic Party, continue to violate the ceasefire regime established in the area on a daily basis. This puts Ankara, which insists that the demiltiarized zone agreement is mostly observed, into an ambiguous position. On one had, Turkey claims that it works with Iran, Russia and the Damascus government against terrorists. On the other hand, it defends terrorists undermining de-escalation efforts in Idlib.

Meanwhile, reports appeared that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation had jointly rejected an idea of Russian Military Police patrols in the areas of M4 and M5 highways. While there is nothing unexpected in this attitude, it puts an end to earlier speculations that Russian and Turkish forces may start joint patrols in the demilitarized zone area.

On February 16, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov revealed that Ankara and Moscow had reached an agreement that they “would try to establish a step-by-step approach, making several areas of joint patrol inside the [Idlib] zone of de-escalation”. However, this would remain unrealistic until Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its allies remain deployed in the demilitarized zone.

Efforts undertaken in the framework of the Astana negotiations format allowed to partially de-escalate the sitaution in the Idlib zone, but no real steps were taken to separate the Turkish-backed “moderate opposition” from “terrorists” in the area. The problem is that both these groups of rebels are mostly the same thing.

Ankara, Moscow and Tehran publicly declare their commitment to the combating of terrorism. Nonetheless, the situation is quite different on the ground. The Syrian-Russian-Iranian alliance exhausted all of their peaceful efforts to solve the militancy issue in the Idlib demilitarized zone and a military option remains the only realistic opportunity to undermine the terrorist influence in Idlib and to propel a peaceful process further.

A brief overview of the recent developments in northwestern Syria:

Military Operation In Idlib Demilitarized Zone Is Only Real Measure To Propel Reconciliation Process In Northwestern Syria?

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  • Zionism = EVIL

    The only way to end this pathetic dragging terror war against Syria is to kill all the headchoppers, starting with the liberation of Idlib and then moving east into the eastern Euphrates valley. The longer these scum are allowed to entrench in Idlib and other regions of Syria, the Americunts will recruit more Wahhabi headchoppers for terrorism.

  • Joe Doe

    Turkey failed keep the side of the agreement and Erdagon is playing both side to its advantage. Therefore, the only option for Syria is take over Idlib, sooner then better and clear the terrorist for good. SAA maybe will need take Idlib little by little, but if Russia will protect Syria in full face than SAA could take whole idlib in one step. But Russia most likely will not do it, as Putin has his own game at the expence of Syria

    • Mustafa Mehmet

      Very clever

    • adzsiam

      Am just putting out a theory here. What if the recent spate of Syrian / Russian military strikes were a tacit agreement between Russian and Turkey during the last Sochi meet? Turkey knows it can do little to stop these strikes short of clashing with Russia and Syrian forces. So why not let them blow off some steam and strike off some names off a hit list? Especially with militant forces that can be problematic and are guilty of continually breaking the ceasefire?

    • gustavo

      Turkey did not fail. Turkey has been cheating Russia, that is all. From this point of view, Turkey has had a full success. Russia will stop any SAA-Hezbolah-Iran offensive on Idlib to please Erdogan.

  • You can call me Al

    No, no, no. For a long time I defended the Syrian / Russia tactics regards Idlib, but I don’t think I can any longer; I do not understand why and what this stalemate is supposed to achieve. To me, it seems more benefical to Turkey and it’s headchoopers in many ways, including killing and demoralisation of Syrian troops.

    I think it is time for the special forces of Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and Russia to move in (maybe under nightime) and start eliminating the opposition on mass.

    PS Where are the Tiger forces ?.

    • Mustafa Mehmet

      hmmm I was thinking something where is tiger force?

    • Valery Grigoryev

      All that lingering is due to Russia’s unwillingness to fray relations with Turkey, as it’s a good neighbor and important economic partner. That’s why Russia doesn’t resist to the Turkey’s meddling.