No large-scale military action needed in Syria’s Idlib: Putin
Moscow :Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country’s joint plan with Turkey for creating a demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib, the last major terrorist bastion in the country, has been effective, thus no major military action is needed in the region. “I have every reason to believe that we will achieve our goals,” Putin said . “And that means, no large-scale military actions are expected there,” he added. “Military action for the sake of military action is unnecessary.” In September, Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan reached a deal in the Black Sea resort of Sochi for the establishment of a U-shaped buffer zone around Idlib that would be free of both terrorists and heavy weapons. Under the agreement, the militants must withdraw by the middle of October. It also stipulates that Turkey and Russia would carry out coordinated military patrols on the borders of the zone in a bid to detect and prevent “provocation by third parties.” The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on September 30 that the Turkey-backed Failaq al-Sham militant outfit was the first to abide by the terms of the accord. However, the US-backed Jaysh al-Izza faction rejected the deal, saying that the zone would only encompass territory currently controlled by anti-Damascus militants. The buffer zone, it noted, should be carved out equally from both terrorist-held areas and nearby regions under the control of Syrian government forces. With an estimated 2,500 members, the Jaysh al-Izza militant outfit is mainly operating in Syria’s west-central Hama province, bordering Idlib. The group, which has been supplied with anti-tank missiles by the US, refused to join the so-called National Liberation Front (NLF), a recently formed alliance of militant factions supported by Ankara. Meanwhile, members of Takfiri Jabhat Fateh al-Sham militant group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, have reportedly agreed to withdraw from the zone under pressure from the Turkish intelligence service. Syria’s pro-government al-Watan daily newspaper reported that Turkish intelligence agents have held several meetings with the leaders of the terror outfit, and vowed that the Syrian army would not carry out a military operation in Idlib. Over the past few months, Syrian forces have made sweeping gains against Takfiri elements, especially in the country’s southern areas and Damascus suburbs. Now, the Syrian army is preparing for peacefully ridding Idlib from several foreign-sponsored terrorist groups.