Gen Col Andrey Serdykov has become a commander of the Russian military group in Syria, Kommersant daily reported on April 12 citing informed sources.
According to the report, Gen Col Serdykov, who is also commader of the Airborne Troops, started carrying out his duties on April 10. He will reportedly deliver a special attention to the task of setting conditions for joint Turkish-Russian patrols in the Idlib de-escalation zone.
The sources quoted by Kommersant confirm that the demilitarization zone agreement has been de-facto sabotaged by armed groups operating in the region, first of all Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) and its allies.
Nonetheless, the report citing a military sources assures that Russia is not going to carry out any kind of ground operation in the area or assist the Syrian Army in launching an offensive on Idlib. This goes in the framework of all the previous activity of Syria, Iran, Russia and Turkey in the framework of the Astana [the city was recently renamed into Nursultan] format.
The report estimates the manpower of Idlib armed groups around 35,000 fighters. About 15,000 of them are deployed in the southern part of the de-escalation zone.
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