Putin reminded Erdogan that he was not at home
MOSCOW, (BM) – An extremely unpleasant aggravation in the Syrian province of Idlib, where terrorists, for example, from Aleppo, were transported to the internationally agreed de-escalation zone at one time. For them, then the provided buses to Idlib were the only way to save their skin. Another option was the unconditional destruction during the assault by government forces of the largest city of Syria. The terrorists chose a bus to Idlib.
It was at the very end of 2016, that is, a little over three years ago. At the same time, everyone understood that Idlib was by no means a new pseudo-caliphate, the solution was temporary. And sooner or later all Syria must be cleansed of this abomination. That is why a year and a half after the liberation of Aleppo – in September 2018 – a military operation was prepared and announced in advance against terrorists gathered in Idlib and not wanting to leave Syria. The operation is large-scale, because there are tens of thousands of terrorists in Idlib. At the last moment, when Sergey Shoigu was directly asked by journalists whether it was necessary to understand that this military operation would not take place, Shoigu answered dryly: “Yes.” That was September 17, 2018.
But who could cancel the operation? Suddenly, the presidents of Russia and Turkey, Putin and Erdogan, did so at a meeting that day in Sochi. To understand the current situation, those agreements are important to remember. Instead of war, they decided then to begin to deploy heavy weapons on the border of the contact of terrorists with the positions of the Syrian army. Erdogan was an active supporter of such a decision, remember even at the Tehran triple summit. The summit in Tehran was held ten days before the meeting in Sochi. Erdogan’s motive: the war in Idlib will “saturate” Turkey with an even greater stream of refugees. Putin took Erdogan’s concerns with understanding. And therefore, in September 2018, we agreed on the following.
“We decided to create a demilitarized zone 15-20 kilometers deep along the line of contact between the armed opposition and government forces by October 15 of this year with the withdrawal of radical militants, including Jebhat-en-Nusra,” the Russian president said.
Agreed on a specific deadline. Now we just remind you: by October 15, it will already be necessary to withdraw radical militants. That was Turkey’s commitment. Withdraw. And further – also with a deadline.
“By October 10, 2018, at the proposal of the Turkish president, to withdraw from this zone heavy weapons, tanks, multiple launch rocket systems, guns and mortars of all opposition groups,” Putin said.
It was no accident that he emphasized that this was Erdogan’s proposal. This is not only politeness, but Putin’s diplomatic flexibility. He went for it, although he himself clearly had doubts that such a thing was possible. Doubts, as we see, were justified.
But why did Putin doubt it? But it’s very simple: not all armed opposing parties participated in the agreements. Previously, Putin already said this: “There are no representatives of the armed opposition here at the table. Moreover, there are no representatives of Jebhat al-Nusra or ISIS (banned in the Russian Federation) or the Syrian army. I believe that the Turkish president is right. That would be good. But we can’t say it for them. Moreover, we can’t say for the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists or ISIS that they will stop shooting or use unmanned aerial vehicles with bombs.”
But Erdogan had his own arguments. He believed that within the framework of the Astana process, it would still be possible to agree with everyone. And so he took on increased obligations. “During the negotiations, it was decided that the territory that is controlled by the Syrian army and the opposition should be demilitarized. The opposition that controls these territories will continue to be there. But at the same time, together with Russia, we will make every effort to eliminate all radical groups with these territories in order to identify and prevent provocations from third parties. Thanks to joint efforts, we will prevent all this,” Erdogan said.
That agreement was truly sensational. Damascus was in favor. Iran is also in favor. Europe is for it. And even the USA is also in favor. Then it was perceived as a diplomatic victory. Putin thus gave everyone another chance. And Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu believed that the agreement was the beginning of a new security system in Idlib. And then – in the military.
“The process of building a new system and a new security structure for work in the Idlib de-escalation zone has begun, which involves and provides for, in the shortest time, to be more precise, until October 10, the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the demilitarization zone, which runs along the perimeter of the Idlib de-escalation zone to a depth from 15 to 20 kilometers. In the future, all radical groups should be withdrawn by October 15. The radical refers to ISIS, Jebhat al-Nusra, those who are listed on the UN as terrorist organizations “A lot of work has been done to determine the routes for the further development of transport from Aleppo to Hama and Aleppo to Latakia. This route should also be accessible to all residents of both Aleppo and the Idlib de-escalation zone by the end of the year,” Shoigu emphasized.
Actually, under these conditions, the Turkish army was allowed into Idlib to strengthen its observation posts. The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry Sergey Lavrov recently reminded of those obligations of Turkey again. So what now? The Turkish army in Idlib treacherously acts alongside terrorists against government forces. It came to the point that the large-scale offensive of the militants had to be stopped with the help of the Russian Space Forces. And in a recent telephone conversation, Putin expressed “serious concern” – diplomacy is a strong expression – “the ongoing aggressive actions of extremist groups.” At the same time, Putin “emphasized” is also not an accidental word addressed to Erdogan – the need for unconditional respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.
I.e. ”Erdogan is not at home”.
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Source: Vesti.ru / Dmitriy Kiselov
The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.