Turk­ish de­ploye­ment in Idlib raises hopes for peace

The lo­cals in Idlib ex­pect the Turk­ish mil­i­tary’s in­volve­ment will bring peace and se­cu­rity to the city while hop­ing that the dis­placed would also re­turn to their home­town as soon as pos­si­ble

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

PEO­PLE in Idlib, Syria, are hope­ful that with the in­volve­ment of the Turk­ish Armed Forces (TSK), the city and its peo­ple will be able to live in more peaceful con­di­tions. Turk­ish forces last Sun­day en­tered Idlib in or­der to as­sess the sit­u­a­tion on the ground and es­tab­lish a de-es­ca­la­tion zone agreed to by Turkey, Rus­sia, and Iran while pre­vent­ing a pos­si­ble “ter­ror cor­ri­dor.” Speak­ing to Anadolu Agency (AA), a num­ber of cit­i­zens from the town of Darat Izza, near Aleppo, ex­pressed hopes for the city’s fu­ture, say­ing that the con­flicts will fi­nally come to an end be­cause of the TSK pres­ence.

MUHAMMED Ab­bas, a man­ager at a lo­cal hos­pi­tal, said they wel­come Turkey’s mil­i­tary pres­ence in the city and ex­pect the con­flict to die down soon.

In a sim­i­lar vein, Ağit Reşit, 18, pre­dicted the lat­est de­vel­op­ment will bring an end to the city’s se­cu­rity prob­lems as well as regime at­tacks.

“The Turk­ish army will change the sit­u­a­tion in Idlib. Our lives will go back to nor­mal,” Cemil Derviş, 48, said.

Muhammed Mustafa, 22, said that they were ex­pect­ing schools and col­leges in the city to re-open soon. He said the lo­cal coun­cils will also do their part with the ar­rival of Turk­ish forces and that it would also mit­i­gate the refugee is­sue to a cer­tain level as peo­ple be­gin to re­turn to the city.

Mean­while, Syr­i­ans from Idlib who took shelter in Rey­hanlı, Hatay, are also fol­low­ing the Idlib op­er­a­tions closely as they hope to re­turn to their home­town as soon as pos­si­ble.

Te­lal Fikri, 35, who fled to Rey­hanlı from Idlib with his three chil­dren, said they es­caped the Khan Shaykhun chem­i­cal at­tack car­ried out by Syr­ian regime forces.

“We con­sider Turkey as the same as Syria. We hope that Turk­ish sol­diers will put an end to the mis­eries in our coun­try. It has been seven years. Our lives have fallen apart,” Fikri said.

“When peace re­turns to Syria, ev­ery­one will go back to their coun­try,” he said.

Ex­plain­ing that he is ex­cited about the TSK’s mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion in Idlib, Ahmed Ham­mud, 34, said: “We miss our fam­i­lies and our home­land so much. We want to re­turn to our coun­try as soon as pos­si­ble.” Ham­mud fled Idlib with his two chil­dren after the war broke.

Mean­while, the TSK con­tin­ues its as­sess­ments to es­tab­lish sur­veil­lance posts to mon­i­tor the truce in the pro­posed de-es­ca­la­tion zone in Idlib.

In a writ­ten state­ment on Oct. 9, the TSK con­firmed that Turk­ish forces crossed into the Syr­ian city on Oct. 8 for re­con­nais­sance as part of a peace ef­fort.

The state­ment said the goals of the deesca­la­tion zones, which were de­clared on Dec. 30, 2016, and guar­an­teed by Turkey, Rus­sia and Iran through the As­tana process, aim to in­crease the ef­fec­tive­ness of the cease-fire agree­ment, end armed clashes, pro­vide hu­man­i­tar­ian aid to those in need, es­tab­lish proper con­di­tions for dis­placed peo­ple to re­turn and es­tab­lish con­di­tions for a peaceful res­o­lu­tion of the con­flict.

Con­firm­ing the de­vel­op­ment, Prime Min­is­ter Bi­nali Yıldırım said Wed­nes­day that Turkey was aware of a plan to es­tab­lish a “ter­ror cor­ri­dor” within Syria.

“We are on the ground to take pre­cau­tions. We are try­ing to es­tab­lish a peace cor­ri­dor,” he said.

He re­called the de­ci­sion made dur­ing the As­tana talks and ex­plained how Turk­ish troops have taken the re­spon­si­bil­ity to ease the cri­sis in Idlib and put an end to clashes there.

On Tues­day, Turk­ish me­dia re­ports sug­gested that the TSK would de­ter­mine 14 spots in the area to es­tab­lish se­cu­rity posts. Ex­perts on the ground are cur­rently an­a­lyz­ing the roads and ter­rain where ar­mored ve­hi­cles and tanks are ex­pected to roll in over the up­com­ing weeks.

The re­ports also claimed that the TSK was work­ing with lo­cal el­e­ments to gather in­tel­li­gence while the du­ra­tion of re­con­nais­sance ac­tiv­i­ties depended on the out­come of that com­mu­ni­ca­tion and in­tel­li­gence shar­ing.

With this op­er­a­tion, the TSK has crossed into Syria for the sec­ond time in over a year. The first, Op­er­a­tion Euphrates Shield, was launched on Aug. 24, 2016, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Free Syr­ian Army (FSA).

It helped lib­er­ate sev­eral Daesh strongholds, in­clud­ing Jarablus, Dabiq, al-Rai, and al-Bab. The op­er­a­tion dealt a heavy blow to Daesh and freed more than 2,000 square kilo­me­ters in north­ern Syria. More than 100,000 Syr­ian refugees have since re­turned to their home­towns in the lib­er­ated ar­eas.

The TSK con­tin­ued its re­con­nais­sance op­er­a­tions in or­der to es­tab­lish sur­veil­lance spots to monitör the truce in the Idlib de-es­ca­la­tion zone.

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