Between Russian Pressure and Turkish Promises:  Al-Lataminah City Awaits Its Destiny

People from the city of al-Lataminah demonstrating in rural Hama – June 2, 2018 (Enab Baladi)

People from the city of al-Lataminah demonstrating in rural Hama – June 2, 2018 (Enab Baladi)


The city of al-Lataminah, northern countryside of Hama, is enduring under the rhythm of a daily shelling by the regime’s forces, which led to dozens of deaths and injuries in the past period and turned the agricultural lands to scorched areas that can no more be invested in.

Despite the Turkish monitoring point in the east of the city of Murak, upon which the civilians have, in the northern countryside, depended on to alleviate their suffering, the shelling is persistent forcing the people to apply pressure on the Turks and demand intervention.

Shelling is not the people’s only source of fear, for the people in the northern countryside of Aleppo are also scared of the Russian military police’s movement towards the city, within a frame of “reconciliations and legalization” agreements following the military pressure.

Lately, a Russian police delegation has arrived at the village of Suran, the towns of Tall Bazzām, Tel Masin, Tall Abadi and the al-Madajen Camp in the north of Taybat al-Imam in the northern countryside of Hama to conduct a reconnaissance mission. Activists have also spotted movement by Russian forces in parts of the governorate that are under the regime’s control.

Engineer Hussam al-Hassan, the head of the local council in the city of al-Lataminah, confirmed to Enab Baladi the people’s fears in the shadow of the Russian movement and the shelling, pointing out that these fears triggered a delegation from the city to pay the Turkish point a visit to understand why there is not a monitoring point in the al-Lataminah, especially that the city has been already examined and a place to position a Turkish military point was chosen.


 “Under the Turkish Auspice”

The Turkish answer to the al-Lataminah’s Local Council’s inquiry was not satisfying, though it was backed with many promises to protect the city.

Al-Hassan pointed out that the Turks have told the delegation that orders from the leadership stopped the positioning of the monitoring point in the city of al-Lataminah, to place the point in Murak. “We received may promises that three other monitoring points will be established, one of which will be in al-Lataminah, and we were reassured that the regime’s forces would not progress to the city,” he added.

“We were supposed to advance to the city of al-Lataminah to position a monitoring point. In the last seconds, we received orders from the leadership providing for transferring the point to Murak,” this was the Turks reply to the delegation.

The activist Mahmoud al-Hamwi, from the city of al-Lataminah, stressed to Enab Baladi that the shelling targeting the city is not stopping, adding that “through contacting the Turks in the Murak Base and visiting them several times, they told us that they have communicated with the leadership to discuss the matter.”

Al-Hamwi explained that the Turkish point is being supplied with daily videos of the shelling on the al-Lataminah and a total of casualties, death, injuries, destroyed homes and burnet crops, so that they would forward them to the higher leadership.

Hussam al-Hassan, the head of the al-Lataminah Local Council, points out that the Turks have expressed their desire to annex several regime-controlled areas, including the towns of Taybat al-Imam, Suran, Halfaya and the villages of Tell Malah, Tremseh and other towns in the northern countryside of Aleppo, which will thus be “under a Turkish auspice.”

Al-Hassan added that the “Turks did not promise to stop the shelling, and they said that they see the shelling every day and are reporting the leadership on the issue on daily basis. However, they denied having a mechanism to stop the offensives against the city.”

Al-Hamwi stressed that the massive pressure on the people due to burning their crops has turned into a pressure on the Turkish monitoring point, adding that “the Turks have been made to understand that the situation in al-Lataminah is unbearable as a result of which reports were filed to the higher command. Since then, the shelling has massively relented.”

“The shelling usually takes place during the night targeting agricultural lands to prevent the farmers from harvesting their crops,” he said.


Al-Lataminah’s Fate According to the Turkish Promise

With the persistence of the popular pressure on the Turkish point, after the regime’s failure to progress at the al-Zalaqiat axis, which led to the death and injury of a number of people, the Turks in the monitoring point stressed that al-Lataminah would not fall under the Syrian regime’s control, according to what al-Hassan has told Enab Baladi.

“The Turks have promised that incase the regime has advanced to the city, the Turkish army would be there side by side with the factions in the face of the regime considering its progress a violation of the Turkish sovereignty,” al-Hassan added.

For his part, al-Hamwi ruled out the possibility of the city’s becoming under the Russian influence attributing this to the many promises made by the Turkish side to the people of al-Lataminah.

Al-Hamwi added that “they told us that the Syrian regime’s dream of the al-Lataminah is similar to Satan’s dream of Eden, and that they are totally sure that the regime cannot penetrate the al-Lataminah,” considering that “the Turks in the Murak base are doing their best to stop the shelling on the al-Lataminah and the northern countryside of Hama, through reporting an identical image of the happenings to the higher leadership, sending documentations of shelling and fires.”

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