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Syria’s Guarantor States Meet Amid Turkish-Russian Differences

Syria’s Guarantor States Meet Amid Turkish-Russian Differences

Monday, 16 September, 2019 - 06:30
Abu Ahmad, a displaced Syrian from Termala chips away at stone walls as he and two of his young sons dig a cave for shelter in the village of Kafr Lusin near the Syria-Turkey border, on September 9, 2019. AFP

A tripartite summit of the three guarantor states, Russia, Turkey and Iran, will take place in Ankara on Monday to discuss the de-escalation zone in the Syrian province of Idlib and the ongoing Syrian regime attacks.

Diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Russian President Vladimir Putin is not expected to change his position from extremist organizations in Idlib, mainly Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and would hold onto his support to the Syrian regime until Bashar Assad achieves all his objectives in Idlib.

However, the sources said that Russia might accept to differentiate between terrorist organizations and Ankara-supported armed groups, or the so-called moderate opposition.

Turkey and Russia have exchanged accusations on the situation in Idlib and the failure to fully implement agreements reached between the two sides on the northwestern province.

Turkey says that the de-escalation zone in Idlib is being progressively eroded, hinting to the Russian to the Syrian regime.

While Moscow accuses Ankara of neglecting the implementation of guarantees it pledged under the Sochi deal in September 2018, mainly on the withdrawal of extremist organizations from Idlib.

Ahead of Monday’s summit, Russia sent the Russian president's special envoy to Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, to Damascus, in a last-ditch effort to remove the obstacles hindering the establishment of the constitutional committee.

Moscow was hoping to remove the deadlock on the committee’s formation ahead of the Ankara summit.

The decision to set up the committee was agreed on at the Syrian National Dialogue Congress held in Sochi on Jan. 30, 2018.

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