Syria gov't rejects any Turkish presence on Syrian soil

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-16 20:58:56|Editor: Song Lifang
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DAMASCUS, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian Foreign Ministry on Saturday stated that the recently-reached deal to de-escalate violence in Idlib province doesn't give any legitimacy to any Turkish presence on Syrian soil, according to state news agency SANA.

The de-escalation zones' deal in the northern province of Idlib, which was reached a day earlier between Turkey, Russia and Iran in Astana, is "temporary aiming to restore life to the international road between Damascus-Hama, and Aleppo to alleviate the suffering of the citizens," according to the statement.

The ministry said the deal doesn't grant any legitimacy to any Turkish presence on the Syrian ground, and the Turkish presence is illegitimate.

"There is no concession whatsoever to the unity and independence of Syrian territory and we will never stop fighting terrorism, whatever its tools and supporters," the ministry said.

A day earlier, Russia, Turkey, and Iran, which held a new round of peace talks on Syria Thursday and Friday in Astana, decided the creation of de-escalation zone in Syria's Idlib and nearby areas as part of the tripartite plan to curb the violence in major hotspots in Syria.

In a joint statement, the three powers said they agreed "to allocate" their forces to patrol the zone covering the opposition-held Idlib and parts of the neighboring Latakia, Hama and Aleppo provinces.

It said that the zones will be formed for a six-month period and could be extended if necessary.

The three powers agreed to send a total of 500 observers to monitor the deal implementation in Idlib, but the Russians will be sending military police.

The deal is the latest in a series of de-escalation zones deal reached between major powers in recent months.

A separate deal was reached between U.S. and Russia in southern Syrian cities of Deraa and Quneitra, and Russian military police were deployed in the area to monitor the cease-fire which started on July 9.

The Russian Defense Ministry also declared a cease-fire deal in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta, as well as in Homs, however, the deal was only reached with an opposition group that has limited dominance in the opposition-held areas in Homs.

But unlike other areas, much of Idlib is under the control of the Levant Liberation Committee (LLC), which comprises of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and allied rebel groups.

The Nusra is the striking force among other rebel groups, and it's excluded from any settlement in Syria.

But hope remains for a slight success of the plan, given the fact that some groups and commanders of the LLC have started disbanding from the LLC umbrella, which could lead to the isolation of the Nusra Front and finally its demise in Idlib.