آخر تحديث - 8 أبريل 2021
Erdogan and Putin have met several times in recent years to coordinate their actions in Syria. In September 2018, they reached a de-escalation agreement on Idlib, which hijacked a Syrian offensive. The agreement created a security zone free of heavy weapons, monitored by Turkish troops. But the pact ultimately failed. In the spring of 2019, its army began bombing Idlib, but the agreement was strengthened again over the summer. According to Altun, Erdogan also said that Turkey expected the regime to be forced to abide by the Sochi agreement. The September 2018 agreement gave Turkey and its local partners control of the majority of Idlib province and held them accountable for the ceasefire by anti-Assad rebels in the north. To this end, the parties have established a demilitarized zone between rebel and regime forces along the periphery, linked to Turkish military observation points. Turkey, Russia and Washington have compelling reasons to welcome a new ceasefire agreement, however imperfect, but they still face the longer-term dangers of the Assad regime`s deadly maximalist strategy. In Thursday`s deal with Erdogan in the Kremlin, Putin joined Turkish calls for a ceasefire, something the Syrian government and its Russian promoter had previously refused by going on an offensive to clear the last rebel pockets in Idlib. Unlike Syrian President Assad, who has vowed to recover “every inch of ground” from the rebels, Russia`s main focus is on protecting its military bases in Syria and avoiding a larger war. At the start of the more than six-hour Kremlin talks, the two heads of state and government stressed the need for an agreement.
One of the objectives was to prevent their bilateral relations and prosperous trade from harming. They support the opposing parties in the conflict, but the two leaders have said they want to reach an agreement before starting talks. But the question is whether Assad is just as convinced of the deal. Given the current circumstances, Putin is likely to propose to Erdogan a new agreement in which Assad will take over most of Idlib`s territory, while Turkey will end up with the fragment that contains the bulk of the province`s displaced civilian population. Erdogan may not accept these conditions right away, but the two heads of state will at least begin discussing the parameters of a new power-sharing agreement in Idlib. The agreement appears to be meeting Russia`s main objective: to allow the Syrian government to control strategic highways essential to consolidating its influence over the country after nine years of devastating war. The agreement will also create a security corridor along the important M4 motorway in northern Syria, where Turkish and Russian forces will begin joint patrols from 15 March. Recent fighting between Turkish and Syrian forces in Idlib province has apparently eliminated the last vestiges of the September 2018 Sochi agreement, negotiated by Russian President Vladimir Putin, to end hostilities and share control of the country`s last rebel-held province.
Since last December, new Russian and Syrian attacks on civilians have sent a million people fleeing to the Turkish border, causing another humanitarian catastrophe. On 27 February, 33 Turkish soldiers were killed when their unit was attacked in Idlib, Ankara`s biggest one-day loss in Syria. Erdogan added that the attacks could not change Turkey`s attitude towards Idlib and reminded Russia to exercise its responsibilities by arresting the Assad regime on the basis of Article 3 of the Sochi agreement, Altun said.