On January 19, Turkey’s national defense ministry claimed that his country is successfully implementing its commitments within the agreement with Russia on the demilitarized zone around the northern Syrian governorate of Idlib.
“The implementation of the Sochi agreements on Idlib is being successfully continued, despite of the provocations ongoing in the region,” Hulusi Akar said in an official statement, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
Under the agreement which was reached on September 17 of last year, Turkey should establish a 15-20km demilitarized zone within the opposition-held areas around Idlib. Radical militants and heavy weapons are not allowed within the zone.
Contrary to Akar’s claims, Turkey has done very little to establish the demilitarized zone so far. Most of the zone is controlled by Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which has not withdrawn its foreign militants or heavy weapons from it.
Furthermore, the militants are violating the agreement on a daily basis. A day before Akar’s statement, the Syrian Arb Army (SAA) repelled several attacks and killed an Indonesian terrorist in the southern part of the zone.
Akar’s statement is an attempt to manipulate the reality of the situation in Idlib ahead of the Russian-Turkish presidential summit that will be held in Moscow next week. Russian and Turkish leaders will discuss the situation in the northern governorate during the summit.