Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday, Turkey will deploy troops in Syria’s northern Idlib region as part of a so-called de-escalation agreement brokered by Russia last month.
The “de-escalation” zones, agreed by Turkey, Russia and Iran, would be further discussed in talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his trip to Ankara next week, Erdogan said in an interview with Reuters while he was in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly.
“Under the agreement, Russians are maintaining security outside Idlib and Turkey will maintain the security inside Idlib region,” Erdogan said. (Reuters, 21/09/2017)
The best summary of the agreement in Astana, between the three “guarantor” states; Turkey, Russia and Iran, came from Syria’s foreign minister Walid al-Muallem who said that the complete victory was within reach in the country and that Damascus hoped that de-escalation zones will help Syria reach a “cessation of hostilities”.
Also in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly he said: “The liberation of Aleppo and Palmyra, the lifting of the siege of Deir Ezzor and the eradication of terrorism from many parts of Syria prove that victory is now within reach”
These are exactly the key points of the Astana talks between the three, Turkey, Russia and Iran: introducing the so-called de-escalation zones in order to contain, fight and eliminate the opposition groups and give the upper hand to the Syrian regime.
The reality on the ground
Since the beginning of the Syrian revolution the colonial power, the US, and its allies have done two main things: On one hand they prolonged the lifespan of the current Syrian system by allowing, Iran, the Iranian group from Lebanon and Russia to intervene military to back up the Syrian regime.
On the other hand, the US have tried numerous attempts and initiatives to break the Islamic uprising and divert its path by putting pressure on the opposition groups to join the negotiation table for a transition to a secular Syrian state according US design. The main player assigned by America to clear this job is the neighbouring Turkey.
One year ago, Aleppo, one of the strongholds of the Muslim resistance against Assad fell in the hands of the regime as a result of the cooperation of these three states. Turkey did its part by moving fighter groups who are under its influence from Aleppo to the Northern area bordering Turkey to “fight” PYD, PKK and the group of Bagdadi. Then the Russians did their part by carpet bombing Aleppo with fighter jets and rocket missiles. The Iranians fought inside the city together with the regime forces to eliminate the civilian remnants. So the intended fall of Aleppo was realised with the help of these three and it fell easily in the hands of the Syrian regime.
This caused the evacuation of thousands from besieged Aleppo to Idlib and its surroundings. The U.N. envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura hinted back then that Idlib would be the next Aleppo if no political agreement could be reached with the muslim groups fighting Assad.
Due to these kind of plots the past 6 years, the control shifted from one hand to another. Whereas in the beginning almost 80% of Syria was in the hands of the opposition, today it is reduced to the area of Idlib and surroundings.
One of the latest stronghold left for the Muslim fighters is Idlib and its surroundings. Its fall would mean a major blow to the Syrian revolution. No wonder why the biggest de-escalation zones are around Idlib and its surroundings, because Idlib is the next target.
First of all, what is a de-escalation zone? And why have Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed to use this terminology?
In the past, terms like “safe zones” have been proposed in order to reduce the mass immigration, by creating zones where people can be “safe” and are not forced to immigrate. However, this has never applied in Syria, because it did not fit the purpose. Instead the term de-escalation zones have been introduced because it fits more to the purpose of the US.
As it is clear from the beginning, the US and its allies, Russia, Turkey and Iran are not concerned about the safety of the Muslims in Syria. Their only goal is to stop the Islamic uprising of the Syrian people and preserve and maintain the Syrian system, with or without Assad.
The declaration of the three: Turkey, Russia and Iran confirms this by specifying that these zones are intended to bring about a “cessation of hostilities”, but it also states that the armed opposition groups that are not part of the ceasefire will be fought against within and outside the designated areas.
More important is that these de-escalation zones will be administrated by the three “guarantors” states: Russia, Turkey and Iran with their political influence and military presence. By physically setting up security zones, observation posts and checkpoints along the borders of these four de-escalation zones.
For example, Turkey will gain a more direct role in influencing the Idlib province along the Turkish border as well as north-eastern areas of Latakia province, western areas of Aleppo province and northern areas of Hama province. This zone is the largest one.
Another de-escalation zone is eastern Damascus and between Homs and Hama. And the rest of the de-escalation zones are located in central and southern areas along the Lebanese border. Where Iran can use its group in Lebanon to strengthen its influence in the region. And on the south-western regions of Daraa and Quneitra, bordering the “Israeli”-controlled Golan Heights and Jordan.
This isolation policy will ensure than the fighting opposition forces are trapped and are unable to receive any assistance from outside. Also this means that their life line will be cut off. In contrast to the Syrian regime, along with Russia, Iran, the Iranian group who have all the means to move freely and unite forces against this relatively small opposition.
So the de-escalation zones have the purpose of physically isolating the different fighting groups from each other without the possibility to unite, in order to break their strength and force them to accept the American plan for a secular Syrian state or totally be wiped out.
This is a grave matter which should shake the Muslim world. And especially the role Turkey is playing herein. It deceived the Muslims with thousand and one sham arguments and justifications; that it is behind the Muslims opposition, fighting the Bagdadi group, or fighting the terrorist PYD and PKK, but how can it deceive them now? There is none of these groups present in the de-escalation zone which falls under its control.
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,
«سيَأتي علَى النَّاسِ سنواتٌ خدَّاعاتُ يصدَّقُ فيها الكاذِبُ ويُكَذَّبُ فيها الصَّادِقُ ويُؤتَمنُ فيها الخائنُ ويُخوَّنُ فيها الأمينُ وينطِقُ فيها الرُّوَيْبضةُ» قيلَ: وما الرُّوَيْبضةُ؟ قالَ: «الرَّجلُ التَّافِهُ في أمرِ العامَّةِ»
“Years of treachery will come over people in which liars are believed and the truthful are denied, the deceitful are trusted and the trustworthy are considered traitors, and the al-Ruwaybaḍah will deliver speeches.” It was said, “Who are the al-Ruwaybaḍah?” The Prophet ﷺ said, “Petty men with authority over the common people.” (Sunan Ibn Mājah 4036)
Media Representative of Hizb ut Tahrir in The Netherlands