On March 7, several local committees of the Syrian opposition in northwestern Hama released a joint statement calling on Turkey to “observe” the de-escalation agreement in the area.
In their joint statement, the opposition hoped that the Turkish government will “oblige Russia to its pledges to Turkey” and to “protect” more than 200,000 civilians in northwestern Hama. The local committees didn’t clarify what “pledges” they referred to in their statement.
The Russian side allegedly informed opposition factions in the town of Qalaat al-Madiq and the areas around it in northwestern Hama on March 1 that they should hand over all of their positions to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).
Back then, Moscow allegedly gave the opposition factions 48 hours to comply with its demands. However, Syrian opposition sources revealed that the time limit had been expanded till March 11 to give a chance to ongoing negotiations.
Under the Astana agreement between Russia, Turkey and Iran, Russian forces are set to establish several observation posts in the northwestern Hama countryside. Due to this, Turkey will not likely intervene or even reject Russia’s alleged demands there.
Pro-government sources believe that Russia will not step back from securing the northwestern Hama countryside, as this area has been used by militants to launch several rocket and armed drone attacks against the Russian Hmeimim airbase in Lattakia.