Sochi Agreement Map

The agreement stated that Syrian regime forces would not withdraw from the borders defined in the previous Sochi agreement in order to curb the current military situation. With Operation Peace Spring, Turkey has taken control of part of northeastern Syria and created a buffer zone against Kurdish-led forces, where it can settle one million Syrian refugees. The Sochi deal with Russia confirms Turkey`s influence over the border area and could allow the Assad government to regain control of the country held so far by the Kurds. The deal was announced after six hours of talks on Tuesday between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian host Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea city of Sochi. At the time, the agreement provided for the maintenance of the Idlib de-escalation zone and the establishment and operation of Turkish observation posts. It was also said that a demilitarized zone with a depth of 15 to 20 km would be established in the de-escalation zone. In addition to the Syrian crisis, Ankara and Washington have failed to agree on Turkey`s possible purchase of Russian-made defense systems. Perhaps one of the most important provisions of the agreement is the restoration of transit traffic on the two international highways “M4” (Aleppo – Latakia) and “M5” (Aleppo – Hama). In addition, the agreement would guarantee the free movement of local people and goods and restore the trade and economic relations that were to take place by the end of 2018, a condition that has not been applied in accordance with the agreement`s timetable. Therefore, most observers expected Russia to try to implement this article later, and this is what happened during the recent military campaign.

After weeks of escalating rhetoric, Russia has teamed up with Turkey to avert an attack on Idlib, the last stronghold of the Syrian armed rebellion. International actors who want to end the war in Syria should adopt the agreement. The agreement contained the following conditions:[1][7][24][25][26][27][28][29] The agreement, reached in March after five hours of talks in the presence of senior Russian and Turkish officials, provided for a ceasefire in Idlib, on the line of contact created after the “de-escalation zones”, as well as the establishment of a safe passage of six kilometers north and south of the “M4” road in Syria. In accordance with the terms of the Sochi agreement, Turkey should expel from the demilitarized zone all groups considered to be “radical terrorists”. Moscow used this article to put pressure on Turkey, which did not drive out the “terrorist groups” until October 15, 2019. In the last round of the Astana talks in August (this time in Sochi), Russia`s only concrete demand to Syrian opposition participants was to end violations of the de-escalation agreement, including drone attacks on Hmeimim. [fn] Crisis Group interviews, opponents of meetings in Astana, Turkey, August 2018.Hide footnote Since then, Russia has claimed responsibility for several new drone attacks on the airbase. [fn] See, for example, “Five drones shot down by militants near the Russian airbase,” TASS, August 13, 2018. HTS denied that at least a few drone attacks were launched from the rebel-held northwest, and said Russia was fabricating justifications for an attack on Idlib. “Russia invents false excuses to attack Idlib” (in Arabic), Shabakat Iba al-Ikhbariya, August 22, 2018.Hide footnote The threat of broader “anti-terrorist” action now threatens.

Russia considers that such action would not necessarily be contrary to the de-escalation agreement; Moscow has argued that previous offensives have indeed complied with de-escalation agreements to the extent that they have complied with their counterterrorism provisions. [fn] See for example the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, “Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, July 5, 2018”, 5 July 2018.Hide the footnote In short, if Russia is looking for an anti-terrorist justification to support an attack on Idlib, the continued presence of HTS makes it readily available. [fn] A Western diplomat said, “Look at what happened in the South.