On September 29, the Syrian pro-opposition news outlet Nedaa Syria published the details of the Russian-Turkish deconfliction agreement on the governorate of Idlib, which was reached two weeks ago.
According Nedaa Syria, the 15-20km demilitarized zone, which will be established around Idlib under the agreement, will be located within the opposition-held areas in northwestern Syria. From its side, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) will not withdraw any unit or weapon what so ever from the frontlines.
The radical groups that will be forced out from the demilitarized zone are Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), Horas al-Din and the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), according to the Nedaa Syria report.
Regarding the heavy weapons, Russia and Turkey want the militants to withdraw all rocket launchers, mortar cannons, artillery pieces and battle tanks from the demilitarized zone. However, Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups will be allowed to keep heavy machine guns and anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) within the zone.
Following this report, HTS’ main ally, Jaysh al-Izza, announced that it will not respect the deconfliction agreement and called for a demilitarized zone within the government-held areas around Idlib. This is a shift in the stand of the armed group, which welcomed the agreement in an official statement last week.
Syrian opposition activists said that the armed groups in Idlib, including HTS, and the Turkish intelligence are currently holding a series of meetings on the issue of the deconfliction agreement. If these groups reject the agreement, a military solution may be implemented by the SAA or even the Turkish military.