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Turkey warns Russia that Syria peace process could collapse due to regime attacks

16 27 4

When Turkey, Russia and Iran announced an agreement to launch a fresh initiative for a political settlement in Syria through a conference in Sochi on Jan. 29 and 30, hopes were raised for a breakthrough and an end to the years-long civil war that claimed the lives of nearly one million civilians.

The three guarantor countries had outlined a roadmap at a leaders’ level summit in November 2017 and agreed to hold what they called Syrian National Dialogue Congress with the participation of all ethnic, religious and sectarian groups.

However, immediately after this, the Syrian army launched a two-phase military offensive, first in East Guta and second in Idlib. In both regions there are powerful armed units of the moderate opposition as well as jihadist groups controlling certain residential areas.

The Syrian army’s advance into East Guta was not so difficult given the field conditions and the size of the opposition groups. But Idlib constitutes another case entirely.

The center and outskirts of Idlib city are under the control of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and are also home to around one million civilians, as well as to armed moderate groups deemed to be taking place in the upcoming peace talks.

Furthermore, Idlib was chosen as one of four “de-escalation zones” by Turkey, Russia and Iran in a bid to cement an ongoing year-long........

© Hürriyet Daily News