Turkey unable to make terrorists withdraw from Syria’s Idlib: Iran’s Ex-Envoy

Tasnim – Iran’s former ambassador to Damascus highlighted the complicated situation in Syria’s rebel-held province of Idlib and said it is unlikely that the Turkish government would be able to force the terrorist groups in the area to withdraw.

Speaking to the Tasnim News Agency, Mohammad Reza Raouf Sheibani described the issue of Idlib as “unresolved”, saying that as long as the problem remains unsettled, the Syrian crisis would not come to an end.

He further pointed to Turkey’s role in developments in Idlib and said it is unlikely that Ankara would be able to force the terrorist groups to retreat from the area.

“In the past, these groups had logistical ties with Turkey and were supported by Ankara, but now the groups are not following the demands and orders of Ankara because it is very hard for them,” the former diplomat said.

“If they want to leave the areas where they are based, the conditions will be much harder for them,” he added.

Turkey recently rejected Syrian government accusations that it is not meeting its obligations under an agreement to create a demilitarized zone around Idlib, saying the deal was being implemented as planned.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem had said that Turkey appeared unwilling to implement the deal.

Under the deal reached following a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in September, all militants must have withdrawn from the demilitarization zone by October 15.

However, al-Qaeda-linked Takfiri terrorists said they refuse to either leave the buffer zone or hand over their weapons.

Moscow believed that the 15-20 kilometer buffer zone would help stop attacks from Idlib-based militants on Syrian army positions and Russia’s military bases in the flashpoint region.

However, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Thursday that terrorists were continuing to make provocative acts in the demilitarized zone.