The Russian aviation, along with the Syrian army, launched an attack on areas in Idlib and Afrin in recent weeks, in clear violation of the ceasefire agreement.
Raids on Idlib
And the Spanish magazine “Atlayar” published a report in which it talked about bombing operations, launched by the Syrian army, in the past hours, on rebel positions in Idlib, northwest of Syria.
These raids on Idlib represent the first violation and the largest escalation since the signing of the ceasefire agreement in 2020. The official report states that the bombings caused at least 4 deaths and 15 wounded.
And in the report that I translated.”homelandThe magazine indicated that the government forces carried out air raids in areas close to the Turkish border, in addition to artillery shelling on the villages of Benin, Fatira and Shanan in the Jabal Al-Zawiya area.
These attacks violate the armistice reached in 2017 between Turkey, Russia and Iran, in which it was agreed to establish a de-escalation zone in Idlib.
For its part, during the month of August, Russian aviation intensified its attacks in the Syrian Kurdish Canton of Afrin, which has been occupied by Turkish forces since 2019, the year in which confrontations intensified between the People’s Protection Units and the Turkish army. Similarly, Russian aviation attacked the headquarters of the Levant Legion in the Iskan area near Afrin, one of Turkey’s main allies in Syria.
It is reported that this Islamic group maintains relations with the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. There are thousands of ISIS fighters currently in Idlib and in areas such as Afrin and Azaz, which are controlled by Syrian representatives from Turkey.
In the face of these new attacks, the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, condemned the “intensification” of air strikes and bombings, which would have caused “the largest displacement recorded since March 2020.”
Escalation in northern Syria
There are several countries that want to have a presence and influence in the northern region of Syria. After Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced in October 2019 that his military attack on the Syrian territories bordering Turkey was “imminent,” the United States ordered him to withdraw his forces.
In fact, the goal of the Turkish forces was to destroy the Syrian Kurdish militias affiliated with the People’s Protection Units, the Women’s Protection Units, and Washington’s allies, but Ankara considers them “terrorist” groups because of their links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. A year ago, Turkish attacks succeeded in displacing the occupying Kurdish units of Afrin canton, and a year later the same attacks were carried out in the northern cities of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain.
On the other hand, the Kurdish-majority region of Afrin is now under the control of Turkey and groups linked to Ankara and the Turkish army, and it is reported that there are parties that carry ideas close to the extreme right promoted by a movement called the extremist “Grey Wolves”.
This group seeks, through an ideological stream, to realize the “dream” of restoring the caliphate under the orders and control of current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This is the reason why the president sought an alliance with this organization, after agreeing to an alliance with the National Movement Party, a far-right political group from which the Gray Wolves emerged and which allows Erdogan to remain in power.
spring of peace
As part of Turkish operations to control the region, Erdogan agreed to Operation Peace Spring, in which he intended to “establish a security zone” covering 480 kilometers from the Euphrates River to the border with Iraq, where about 3.6 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey would be resettled, not to mention It aims to expel the Syrian Democratic Forces, which Turkey considers a terrorist organization due to its ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Thus, the Kurds witnessed the fading of their hopes for the establishment of an autonomous region.
It should be noted that at that time, Kurdish militias controlled 30 percent of the territory, including important oil wells, but now they had to withdraw from their positions after the strong Turkish presence.
For its part, Russia has distanced itself from the Turkish strategy to side with Assad, as evidenced by the various attacks launched by Russian aviation in recent weeks in Idlib.
Previously, Russia and Turkey had strengthened their cooperative relations since 2016, but disputes over control of the city caused some crises between the two countries.
Moreover, Turkey accused Russia of “participating in the massacre of civilians,” following the Syrian-Russian attacks on Idlib, while the Russian state accused the former Ottoman power of “failing to comply with agreements aimed at containing hostilities in the volatile region and limiting the aggravation of the situation.”
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Nevertheless, Russia tried to present itself as a mediator between the Syrian and Turkish forces, countries that were somehow allies of the Kremlin, and with them tried to build a peace process in Syria.
On the other hand, various extremist jihadist groups control about half of the city and are still the main stronghold of the Assad resistance. For the most part, the stronghold will be under the control of the group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a former Syrian branch of al-Qaeda. But the military wing, which the United Nations has described as a terrorist, denies any connection with al-Qaeda.
Besides, the region is home to 2.9 million Prime Time Zone. According to data collected by the United Nations, two-thirds of the displaced left rebel strongholds while Assad was retaking his positions. Today, more than a million of them live in camps, in squalid conditions.
In addition, Syria has already made it clear that it intends to reoccupy the entire region. In this sense, the Assad army succeeded in retaking strategic areas, isolating Idlib and linking Aleppo to Latakia Governorate, the stronghold of the Assad family.
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