Idlib crisis should be settled by diplomatic means

RISS expert Vladimir Fitin expressed his hope that the crisis in the Syrian province of Idlib would be settled diplomatically. "If this does not lead to a positive outcome, it may have an extremely negative impact on the further development of Russian-Turkish relations," he underscored.

Fitin recalled that Idlib crisis had aggravated after the successful offensive of the Syrian Arab Army. The reason was the continuous terrorists provocations and incitement, as well as attacks on the country's largest economic center – the city of Aleppo. The fact is that the Idlib province remains the last terrorist enclave in the country because of the most powerful group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. As a result, the armed forces managed to take control of almost half of the region.

However, such actions provoked an extremely severe Turkey's reaction. Ankara is not ready to accept a new wave of refugees, which is estimated at about a million people. According to RISS expert, the most important thing for Turkey was to have a huge influence in the region and postwar Syria.

Ankara accuses Moscow of violating the Russian-Turkish agreement that was signed in Sochi in 2018. But it is Turkey that has not implemented the main provisions of this agreement, Fitin says. The treaty provided for the separation of opposition from terrorist groups, creation of a 15-20 kilometres demilitarised zone, as well as the unblocking of all roads connecting the country's largest cities. Nothing was done.

Ankara's official position has also led to a sharp increase in anti-Russian sentiment in Turkish society, including direct threats to the Russian diplomat in Turkey. "The situation is tense, but we should bear in mind that the Syrian army is fighting for the unity of its state. The territorial integrity of Syria is officially supported by everyone, including Turkey, Iran, and Russia. Diplomats are making efforts to defuse the situation. Experience shows that Russia and Turkey have already managed to reach mutual agreement," Fitin concluded.

Idlib Turkey