The Full Text Of The Initial Turkish-Russian Agreement Concerning Idlib
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Despite Turkey`s military superiority, the Syrian army – backed by Russian air power and Iranian militias – has captured half of Idlib and forced nearly a million Syrians to flee to the Turkish border. The confrontation with the ceasefire agreement between Erdogan and Putin ended on 4 March in Moscow. The two leaders wanted to avoid a direct confrontation between Turkey and Russia. Turkey granted the Syrian regime control of the southern part of Idlib and the strategic town of Saraqib and agreed to patrol with Russia along the M4 motorway, about 30 km south of the Turkish border. Ankara felt that these terms were less ideal, but ultimately acceptable. In November 2019, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar responded to questions from the Turkish parliament in the Turkish parliament and said: “If there are accusations concerning the Syrian National Army or Turkish forces, we are conducting a full administrative and legal investigation. We have faced these accusations, which any modern army would do, and we are prepared to continue to do so. Akar also said that Turkey has set up two military courts in Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain (Resulayn) to investigate allegations of war crimes – and that its work continues. However, there is little publicly available information on these procedures. Turkish government officials know that the ceasefire brokered by Moscow could be a quick solution rather than a lasting solution to the Idlib conflict.  Erdogan`s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, said recently: “We are pleased that this ceasefire agreement is holding, but it is clearly a temporary measure. This will not solve local problems in Syria. Ankara`s dilemma is that it has invested too much in its relations with Russia, both politically and economically, to unravel now. Not only would such a scenario have a huge economic cost, but it would also encourage millions of refugees to flee Idlib to the Turkish border and perhaps also to Turkey itself.