Turkish-Backed Groups Began Withdrawing Heavy Weapons From Demilitarized Zone Around Idlib

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Turkish-Backed Groups Began Withdrawing Heavy Weapons From Demilitarized Zone Around Idlib

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On October 6, a commander of a pro-opposition armed group told the Reuters news agency that two Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups began withdrawing their heavy weapons from the demilitarized zone, which will be established around the governorate of Idlib under the Russian-Turkish deconfliction agreement.

“The process of withdrawing heavy weapons began this morning and will continue for a number of days … Light and medium weapons and heavy machine guns up to 57 mm will remain in place,” the commander said.

The Syrian news outlet Enab Baladi revealed that the two groups, which are withdrawing their heavy weapons, are the Free Idlib Army and Faylaq al-Sham. Both groups are a part of the National Front for Liberation (NFL), a Turkish-backed coalition formed last month.

A source familiar with the situation told Enab Baladi that all armed groups in the opposition-held area, including Hay’at Tahir al-Sham (HTS), will follow the Free Idlib Army and Faylaq al-Sham and withdraw their heavy weapons from the demilitarized zone.

According to the source, HTS accepted the Russian-Turkish agreement, but it didn’t announce that due to internal disagreements. There is a fact supporting this version. Earlier this week, HTS prevented al-Qaeda-affiliated Horas al-Din from carrying out an attack on Damascus government forces in northern Lattakia.

Under the Russian-Turkish deconfliction agreement, all armed groups should withdraw their rocket launchers, mortar cannons, artillery pieces and battle tanks from the demilitarized zone before October 15. If the groups failed to fulfill this condition, a military action will become a possible option to force them to fulfill the agreement.

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  • Potato Potato

    Only 2 “FSA” groups will withdraw. What about 100 other ones?

    • Sinbad2

      It’s a start, non of the groups want to give up their weapons whilst the other groups are armed.
      they are more scared of being killed by their fellow terrorists than the Syrian army.
      That’s why letting it drag on helps the Syrian Government, let them kill each other off.

    • Brother Ma

      What a lot of rubbish. Two new alphabet soup groups faylaq and free idlib army this week. Last week it was national liberation army! Every week these turcos have new names and swapping members just to confuse good citizens. Machine gunning for all is needed!

  • RichardD

    It looks like the Turkish plan isn’t going to well. 1 week left, and so far none of it has been implemented. Other negotiated withdrawals and disarmaments also took time. So I’m sure the that the Syrian government coalition will exercise patience until it’s obvious that the the DMZ agreement is either implemented, or it’s clear that it can’t be implemented. Either way, Putin and the Syrian government coalition come out looking like the good guys.

    • Brother Ma

      Was not meant to work. Er-dog-an wanted it to fail. Question is did Putin know he would fail on purpose. If so,then Putin should bomb and burn all the tucojihadists asap! Do not let them get to the border! The desert needs fertilizer !

      • Sinbad2

        Erdogan is a slimy dog, but this is a complex game, and Erdogan will be humored until he is no longer useful.
        Putin is in Syria for Russia, right now Russian and Syrian aims coincide, but it is up to Syria to deal with its sleazy neighbours.

        Assads father would have slaughtered all of the ISIS guys and their families.
        The US tried to overthrow the Syrian government in the 1980’s, using religious fanatics, like they always do, but Hafez played the game like the Americans, and it scared the jihadis away.

        Part of the problem, is Assad junior is too civilized, to beat the Americans, you have to fight dirty like they do, you know killing children, bombing hospitals, sewerage and water plants.

  • Lupus

    Too little, too late. Good, now wipe them off the earth

  • Smaug

    Turkey’s ability to issue these orders shows who’s in charge.
    HTS’ inability to reach a coherent plan shows that no one is in charge. It seems that a few in their leadership arranged the deal and accepted it planning on presenting the treaty to the others as a fait accompli but that only resulted in deepening internal strife.

    • Sinbad2

      HTS is al Qaeda, and there are many factions, but the Sauds are the main controllers.

      • Brother Ma

        Where does a ragtag army find heavy weapons? Where does a ragtag army find tank drivers and artillery specialists? I know! When they are not a ragtag army after all and are turco,,Israeli and us ally soldiers” in mufti” to start with!

        • Sinbad2

          The US started this war within weeks of Syria signing an agreement with Iran for a gas pipeline, and rejecting the American offer.
          This is how the US does business, it’s not new, they always attacked those who do not obey. Even as far back as the 1800’s the US shelled Korea, because the Koreans refused to do business with America.
          The US via its intermediaries keeps many terrorists armed and trained, al Qaeda are Americas storm troopers. Some even come from Guantanamo Bay, after they have been reprogrammed.

          • Brother Ma

            Of course, i know the Korean incident well. Brits did it with China earlier as well. Baghdadi and many ISIS are just dispossed Iraqi sunnis once at war with the Us and released from prisons , now their dogs.