Turkey, Russia switch roles in Syria’s north: Idlib Civil Council

RAQQA, Syria (North Press) – Russia and Turkey are switching roles regarding silence and shelling against areas of Turkish-backed armed factions in northwest Syria and that of the Autonomous Administration in northeast of the country, an official in the Idlib Civil Council said on Monday.

Although Turkey is one of the guarantors of the de-escalation agreement in Idlib, in addition to being part of the ceasefire agreement concluded with Russia in March 2020, its position is absent regarding the recent escalation in the Idlib region.

Two weeks ago, the three guarantor countries of the ceasefire in the northwest (Turkey, Russia and Iran) held the 16th round of Astana meetings, the final statement of which announced the establishment of a ceasefire, but the reality was quite the opposite.

“The Turkish silence regarding the Russian shelling against Idlib governorate takes place in exchange for the Russian and international community’s silence regarding Turkish shelling against al-Shahba’ city and areas in north and east Syria,” said Idlib Civil Council co-chair Haytham al-Abdullah.

Idlib Council is an administrative unit which is headquartered in the city of Raqqa. It was established in July 2019 and is affiliated with the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), specializing in managing and following up on the affairs of IDPs from Idlib city and its countryside residing in northeastern Syria.

“The Syrian regime in turn does not have the power to decide regarding the shelling; rather, this issue is related to the Russian decision, but the regime is a partner with the Russians,” al-Abdullah told said in an exclusive statement to North Press.

“The Russian pretext of countering terrorism is behind the Russian shelling of civilians. They do not shell the posts of the factions that they claim are in Idlib; rather, they shell hospitals, schools, and unarmed civilians,” al-Abdullah added.

“The so-called Salvation Government, the [Syrian] National Coalition, and the Muslim Brotherhood are all partners in the political operation, the ongoing shelling against Idlib governorate, and the mass displacement of people in northwest Syria,” he mentioned.

Al-Abdullah believes that the Turkish government is using militants of the armed factions as mercenaries in order to battle according to its agendas locally and internationally, and in countries as Libya and Azerbaijan.

Reporting by Amar Abdullatif

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