MOSCOW, (BM) – Turkey will not rush to liquidate a terrorist group in Syrian Idlib, said Kirill Semenov, a specialist at the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs, on April 4 to Kommersant, learned bulgarianMilitary.com.
The expert believes that Ankara is not configured to immediately liquidate Khayyat Tahrir Al-Sham (KTS). The group is the largest terrorist gang in Idlib.
“The process of neutralizing the KTS will be phased and will take a lot of time,” Semenov said. He added that the fighters must first be pushed off the M4 Latakia-Aleppo highway.
Recall, Turkey promised to conduct a military operation against terrorists in Idlib after the second joint Russian-Turkish patrol of the M4 road failed. The militants blocked the track on the convoy’s path and promised to attack if Russian or Turkish troops try to patrol the track.
On March 5, 2020, during negotiations in Moscow between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an agreement was reached on a ceasefire in the Idlib de-escalation zone in northern Syria.
Negotiations were preceded by heavy fighting between the Syrian Arab Army and the Syrian opposition militants, which Turkey directly supported with artillery and attack unmanned aerial vehicles.
During the fighting in the last week of February, the militants were able to temporarily seize the key city of Sarakib from the government forces, located at the intersection of two major highways – M4 and M5. But by early March, the city was again liberated from terrorists.
At the talks, the parties recorded the current state of affairs and agreed on the demilitarization of the M4 highway, in order to ensure that all units of the Syrian opposition should be withdrawn from the six-kilometer buffer zone on both sides of the highway.
Throughout the entire route along its entire length, joint patrols of the military police of the Russian Federation and the Turkish military should be regularly carried out. These measures are designed to ensure the opening of the route for peaceful Syrians.
However, the first joint Russian-Turkish patrol was able to drive along the M4 only from Sarakib to the city of Arikh, where the highway was blocked by militants from the Khayyat Tahrir Al-Sham terrorist group who did not submit to Turkey and did not agree to open the highway in their zone of influence.
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