Syrian rebel groups reject Turkish-Russian arrangement for Idlib

Syria’s deputy Foreign Minister announced that Damascus took part in negotiations for the agreement reached between Russia and Turkey, on building a demilitarized zone in the country’s northwestern Idlib province. “This agreement between Russia and the Turkish government was negotiated also with the Syrian government in details, because we want to use settling issues by peaceful means and achieving national reconciliation,” Syrian deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Faisal Mikdad said.

The Russian-Turkish deal averted a wide-scale military offensive by the Syrian army against the rebel-held Idlib province. According to the deal, the rebels would withdraw from a demilitarized zone, scheduled to take effect on the 15th of October. That said, only a limited number of rebel groups in Idlib stated their stance over the deal, while some of the more radical groups, including most powerful Al-Qaeda-linked Ahrar Tahrir al Sham, have made clear they would not accept the agreement and called for rebels to keep fighting the Assad regime. According to a political analyst who closely monitors the situation in Idlib, the expected failure by Ankara to attain compliance from all rebel groups and avert any offensives against the Assad regime, will provide a prelude to Russia and Syria to start attacking the rebel groups across Idlib. “If Turkey fails to stop rebels making offensives because of its military strength, or under the pressure of international public opinion since it is only an inspector, then the Syrian government and Russia’s air force will strike the rebels in the name of implementing the Russian-Turkish deal,” Hmaidi Alabdullah a

Political Analyst said.

Several intelligence analysts have confirmed to TV7 that the Turkish-Russian arrangement can only be a viewed as a temporary measure, as the animosity between the Islamist groups in Idlib, regularly deteriorates into battles between the various groups, a fact that will likely be used by Damascus as pretext to orchestrate a coordinated attack with backing from both Russia and Iran.