Five Monitoring Points in Idlib, Would the Governorate’s Map Settle Down?

A Turkish soldier in the town of Deir Ballut, in Afrin, northern Aleppo- 10 February 2018 (TRT)

A Turkish soldier in the town of Deir Ballut, in Afrin, northern Aleppo- 10 February 2018 (TRT)


Idlib governorate anticipates what the latest changes would impose, after monitoring points have been spread in five locations, starting from the western countryside of Aleppo to eastern Idlib, under the “de-scalation agreement.”

Despite the points, the Russian aircrafts keep launching raids, the thing which triggers a number of questions about the ability to curb Assad and Russia’s plans, through the agreement that included the area.

The last of the points was centered in the village of Tell Touqan in the eastern countryside of Idlib, in the area separating Abu al-Duhur military airbase, the city of Saraqib and the Damascus-Aleppo International Highway, after emplacement in Talat al-Issa to the south of Aleppo, and other three former positions in the western countryside of Aleppo.

In an interview with the former Director of the “Free Army’s” General Staff, the Brigadier General Ahmad Beri told Enab Baladi that spreading the monitoring points in Idlib has not yet been finalized against the background of the continuance violations of the Syrian regime and its allies in the area.

The Military Adviser in the “Free Army,” Ibrahim al-Idlbi has confirmed Beri’s statement, pointing out that “so far the suspension of Assad’s forces military operations is not confirmed, despite the admission of monitoring forces to rural Aleppo.”

In an Interview with Enab Baladi, al-Idilbi assured that “Russia, the regime and Iran’s promises cannot be trusted.”

Russia is Out of the Agreement

The Russian and the Syrian regime’s aerial bombardment have enveloped life in Idlib. Russia has also enhanced its air raids, especially on the villages and towns in the eastern part of the governorate and, in a concentrated manner, targeted field hospitals and medical centers, which led to the death of dozens of civilians, including women and children.

Russia justified its bombardment saying that it is targeting “Al-Nusra Front” position (under Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham), particularly after shooting down one of its military aircrafts and the death of its pilot, being hit by an anti-aircraft missile.

Turkey considers Assad’s forces targeting of Idlib’s cities a violation of the “de-escalation” agreement, guaranteed by Ankara, Moscow and Tehran in the “Astana” Talks, through which the guarantors did not specify serious conditions to stop the military operations or the shelling aimed at civilians.

After communicating with Russia, Ankara’s statements were exclusively related to a confirmation about spreading the monitoring points and the continuity of the agreement that includes Idlib.

According to the “Civil Defense,” three of its centers went out of service (the center in the Khan Shaykhun Sector, Khan Shaykhun’s Center and Khan Shaykhun Women Center), following their total destruction, in addition to most of the medical centers in the city of Saraqib and the main hospital in the city of Kafr Nabl.

A report by the Syrian Network for Human Rights, on February 6, documented the death of 103 civilians, including 33 children and ten women, in Idlib governorate, killed in the military operations conducted by the main actors in the area, since 25 January to 5 February.

The deaths are divided as thus: 53 civilians killed by Assad’s forces, among whom there are 13 children and four women, in addition to 45 civilians, killed by the Russian forces, among whom there are 17 children and six women.

The Regime Progresses via “ISIS” game

The military reality ramified on ground in Idlib governorate with the beginning of February, for Assad’s forces have announced a suspension of their military operations in eastern Idlib, moving to eastern Hama, where they started fake battles against the “Islamic State” (ISIS), seeking to open a road for themselves towards southern and eastern Idlib and then to the areas under the opposition factions.

Military sources under the “Free Army” told Enab Baladi, on Friday, February 9, that ISIS’ groups arrived at the area of Umm Sehrij at the outskirts of the village of Niha, after the Assad’s forces opened them a route from eastern rural Hama to the southern countryside of Idlib governorate.

The sources added that ISIS is trying to reach the village of Umm Elkhalayel held by the “Free Army” factions, in addition to al-Webde town.

ISIS, according to the sources, has not achieved any progress and pointed out that it moved up to 30 kilometers within the route that Assad’s forces have opened.

In a former interview with Enab Baladi, the military analyst Ahmad Hamadi said that “Russia’s alliance that is alleging fighting Daesh had admitted them from the areas of Abu Hilal and al-Saan towards the northern and the eastern countryside of Hama.”

He considered that “ISIS has been used as a pretext to intervene in areas included in the d-escalation agreement.”

Assad’s forces had achieved a sufficient progress at the expense of ISIS in the enclave it controls in the eastern part of Hama; Assad’s forces, before opening the route for ISIS, controlled more than 29 towns in less than 24 hours. During the progress, leaders have confirmed to Enab Baladi that the battles between the two parties, were only “delusive.”

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