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Is the Idlib agreement setting up a Russia-Turkey clash?

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Unlike all the agreements that Russia has made with international and regional parties to implement its plan in Syria, the Idlib agreement signed by the two sides in Sochi involves many problems that are difficult to solve or overcome. Moreover, the agreement can only be implemented if a major and humiliating concession is made, by either side; a concession that could completely and permanently end that side’s role in the Syrian war, which means losing all its investments in this war.

As the deadline for the implementation of the terms of the agreement approaches, the terms are becoming clearer, after remaining vague for some time. Perhaps the most serious of which is the clause regarding the area of the safe zone and the distance at which the opposition must retreat to and remove heavy weapons from. At the beginning, the opposition factions understood that this distance would be an equal distance between its areas and those controlled by the regime, but later realised that the Turkish side agreed that this distance be at the expense of the opposition areas.

The literal application of this clause would certainly mean that the opposition would evacuate more than a third of the areas under its control. In addition to this, it would have to concede its best strategic areas due to the fact that they contain hills, highlands and mountains, as well as the fact that they are the best protected due to their location on the line of contention. It is strange that the Russian plan in invading Idlib considered these areas part of the first phase of invasion, and was betting on the........

© Middle East Monitor