Fri 18 Oct 2019

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After Ankara Summit, FSA Commander Introduces Terms Of New Idlib Agreement

Presidents Hassan Rouhani of Iran, Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Vladimir Putin of Russia taking a photo after a joint press conference in Ankara- September 16, 2019 (Reuters)

Presidents Hassan Rouhani of Iran, Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Vladimir Putin of Russia taking a photo after a joint press conference in Ankara- September 16, 2019 (Reuters)

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A leader of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Mustafa Sejari, introduced the terms which he described as belonging to the new agreement on Idlib province, ones agreed upon by the three ‘guarantors’ of the Astana Talks, held in Ankara on Monday.

Sejari, Director of the Political Bureau in al Mu’tasim Brigade, operating in rural Aleppo, pointed out that the new agreement stipulates the establishment of a de-escalation zone free of heavy weapons and is yet to determine the tracks of the joint Turkish-Russian patrols.

In a post on Facebook, today, Wednesday, September 18, Sejari added that the agreement provides for the removal of internationally listed as terrorists and the entry of the Syrian Interim Government into the area, in addition to the provision of services and the resumption of international humanitarian aid.

The new agreement also demands the completion of the final steps of forming the Constitutional Committee and drafting a new election law.

The fifth tripartite summit of Iran, Russia and Turkey was held in the Turkish capital Ankara, focusing on the situation in Syria last Monday.

The three leaders, Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian Vladimir Putin and Iranian Hassan Rouhani, announced a final agreement to form the Constitutional Committee tasked with rewriting Syria’s constitution.

Regarding  Idlib province and its fate, Putin said: “We agreed with Erdogan and Rouhani to take concrete steps for lowering the tension in Idlib.”

Putin added, as quoted by Russian media outlets at the end of the summit, that: “Russia intends to continue its support for the Syrian army in limited operations to contain terrorist threat where it emerges,” ensuring that “the ceasefire will never cover terrorist organizations; the fight against them shall continue.”

Idlib province is currently witnessing a unilateral ceasefire announced by Russia and the Syrian regime forces two weeks ago.

The announcement of the ceasefire came after a massive military campaign, under which the Syrian regime forces took control of the entire northern countryside of Hama, and the strategic city of Khan Shaykhun located on the international highway Damascus – Aleppo.

Sejari indicated that any denial or obstruction of the agreement made by Jabhat al-Nusra, the Guardians of Religion Organization or Ansar al-Tawhid would be an opportunity to declare a new war.

“Maybe we will have a scenario similar to Khan Shaykhun’s and 50 other towns in the countrysides of Hama and Idlib,” added Sejari.

Turkey continues to send military reinforcements to its observation posts deployed in Idlib under the Astana talks.

Meanwhile, regime forces are making a daily target of the villages and towns of the southern countryside of Idlib, which are being subjected to artillery and missile shelling.

The Sochi agreement signed by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, in September 2018, governs the fate of the province of Idlib and its geographical borders.

Although its provisions have not been fully implemented, Moscow and Ankara see them as the cornerstone of what the region will look like in the future.

In the latest statement on the agreement, both sides say it is still operating but facing difficulties and problems.

Furthermore, the Russian Minister of Defence, Sergey Kuzhugetovich Shoygu, stated on August 27, 2019 that the implementation of the “Russian-Turkish agreement related to Syria’s Idlib is difficult and tense,” noting that “Turkey is patrolling within the area of de-escalation, while Russian patrols continue outside.”

 

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