Although the Russian and Turkish militaries resumed patrolling operations in northern Syria on 17 February, Moscow and Ankara remain dissatisfied with the developments on the ground. Middle East experts Ghassan Kadi and Christopher Assad have explained Turkey’s two-front strategy in Syria and Libya which has put Russo-Turkish relations to the test.
In the aftermath of Monday talks, the Turkish leadership complained that Russia-Turkey bilateral discussions are still far from meeting Ankara’s demands. At the same time, the Kremlin highlights that the objectives of the Sochi agreement have yet to be reached.
‘There’s No Moderate Opposition in Idlib Zone’
One of the provisions of the Sochi agreement on Idlib struck by Moscow and Ankara on 17 September 2018 stipulated that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham* and other radical groups would leave the demilitarised zone entirely while the so-called “moderate” rebels would disarm and be allowed to stay in the region, something that has yet to be done.
Commenting on the situation surrounding Idlib on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed that “the demilitarised zone in the whole Idlib zone perimeter” outlined in the Turco-Russian Sochi agreement “has not been created yet”. Besides, Lavrov underscored that terrorists operating within the zone “are not guaranteed safety”.
“First of all, there are no ‘moderate opposition’ fighters in Idlib”, says Ghassan Kadi, a Middle Eastern expert, blogger and political analyst of Syrian…