Syrian opposition pleased by Turkey’s stance on Idlib

By Gulsum Incekaya

ISTANBUL (AA) – Members of the Syrian opposition said that the de-escalation zone in Idlib — following a deal between Ankara and Moscow in the Russian city of Sochi — is positively progressing as Turkey manages the process efficiently.

On Sept. 17, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in the Russian city of Sochi to establish a disarmament zone in Syria’s Idlib province.

Located near the Turkish border, Idlib is home to more than 3 million Syrians, many of whom fled to other cities following attacks by forces of the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, leader of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SMDK) Abdurrahman Mustafa said that according to information received from the region the reconciliation process is progressing as expected.

"Turkey is managing the Idlib process well. We also know that moderate opposition which is supported by Turkey is working in accordance with the Sochi agreement," he said.

Stating that this agreement was made to prevent a civilian massacre, Mustafa said that civilians and armed groups must adapt to this reconciliation — which started under the control of Turkey — otherwise it will "strengthen the hand of Russia, Iran and the Assad regime which were, from the beginning vouching for a military solution with the excuse of terrorism".

"It is very likely that Russia and the Assad regime will return to the pre-Sochi reconciliation and organize an operation again," he added stating that for that reason the process must come to a result under Turkey's control to prevent this.

Mustafa said that terrorist threats in the region is not only Turkey's but the entire world's concern.

"With a common political solution and a specific strategy, terrorism must be eliminated from the Syrian territory. This is necessary for the safety of the world," he added.

Mustafa said that Europe’s stance with Turkey is also important to ease its movement in the region.

Chairman of Community of Syrians in Istanbul, Mustafa Hamitoglu said that whether civilians or the moderate opposition in Syira trust Turkey in its support for the territorial integrity of the country and its struggle for the freedom of the Syrian people.

Hamitoglu said that after Turkey placed observation points in Idlib, Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) started to "look rationally at the events".

"HTS is staying silent on Turkey’s presence in Idlib. There is no conflict or objection. Therefore they might think that Turkey’s presence in Idlib would be better for Syria," he said.

"Between the opposition – including HTS — there is trust towards Turkey but at the same time mistrust against Russia and Assad," he said.

The opposition is currently stuck between these two equations," he added.

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