Idlib, Syria Demilitarized Zone Agreement Collapsing
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
In mid-September, Russia and Turkey agreed on establishing a 15 – 20 km-wide demilitarized zone in Idlib province along the Turkish border - the only remaining US-supported terrorist stronghold in Syria.
Liberating the province was put on hold, a mistake in hindsight. Erdogan can never be trusted. He failed to live up to his end of the deal - doing nothing to disarm al-Nusra and other jihadists he and the US support.
Nearly two months after the agreement, they remain heavily armed with Western and Israeli-supplied arms and munitions - using Idlib as a platform for attacks on Syrian forces and civilians.
At the time, I said the agreement looks doomed to fail – unlikely to get heavily armed, US-supported, jihadists to voluntarily leave the demilitarized zone they occupy, along with removing all heavy weapons from the area when Washington most likely ordered them to stay and fight.
How to accomplish the unattainable wasn't explained at the time. Clearly Trump regime hardliners aren't about to remove jihadists they control from any Syrian territory where they want them deployed.
Nor did Turkey as things turned out, promising one thing, doing something entirely different. Erdogan has his own aims in mind - wanting northern oil-rich Syrian territory annexed along with Assad toppled.
He's no friend of Syria or regional peace, nor a reliable Russian ally, supporting terrorists, not combatting them, at war with Kurds internally and abroad.
In mid-September, Damascus agreed to delay the liberation of Idlib, not cancel it - letting events in the province fester as things turned out.
I questioned the wisdom of delay at the time, saying it smacked of Putin appearing a tyrant, failing to do the right thing.
As long as jihadists continue to operate in Syria, killing government forces, terrorizing civilians, liberation will remain unattainable.
Nor can it be achieved as long as US and Turkish forces illegally occupy Syrian territory. They're "invaders," Assad earlier stressed.
Perhaps the campaign to liberate Idlib will begin after all. According to AMN News, government forces "launched a powerful attack against a group of jihadist rebels that were positioned in the southeastern countryside of Idlib (Monday) night," adding:
"Using surface-to-surface missiles and artillery shells, the Syrian Arab Army repeatedly struck the jihadist defenses around the towns of Al-Taman'ah and Sukeek, inflicting heavy damage on the militant positions."
Elite Syrian Tiger Forces deployed in the area are on high alert. AMN News believes they and other government forces are "preparing for a new operation against the jihadist rebels in southeast Idlib."
Perhaps it'll be the start of a long-awaited offensive to liberate the province once and for all - with supportive Russian airpower.
Saying the Idlib demilitarized zone "continues to collapse," AMN News believes the offensive may begin "in the coming days…"
A Final Comment
SouthFront reported that a captured ISIS jihadist said the group's al-Safa cell "is receiving direct military support from a US-led coalition base in the border area of al-Tanaf" in southern Syria.
Separately, a Pentagon Lead Inspector General report cited "numerous instances" of US aid "knowingly diverted" to anti-Syrian terrorist groups.
The above information isn't new. ISIS and other jihadists can't operate without foreign support, supplied by Washington, NATO, Turkey, the Saudis and Israel - backing the scourge of terrorism they pretend to oppose.
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