World powers convene in Turkey for further discussion on demilitarising Idlib province

World powers convene in Turkey for further discussion on demilitarising Idlib province

The leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Turkey will meet in Istanbul for talks on Syria today. These talks will

FILE PHOTO:A general view taken with a drone shows part of the rebel-held Idlib city

Photo: Reuters/Ammar Abdullah

The leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Turkey will meet in Istanbul for talks on Syria today. These talks will focus on the Idlib agreement, which halted the Syrian regime’s march on the key northern city and last stronghold for rebels and extremist.

While the deadline for the removal of heavy weaponry from the area was met, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights states that extremist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) remains present in Idlib. Aside from their ongoing presence, however, HTS has kept its intentions ambiguous, possibly to stall for time.

As the Idlib agreement prevented a Syrian regime assault against an area populated by three million people, HTS’s refusal to comply could put this agreement in jeapordy. On the other hand, Russia and Turkey remain convinced that the Idlib agreement is working and expect further withdrawals by HTS. Moscow described the talks as an opportunity to advance the political settlement process.

Expect today’s talks to utilise the momentum of the Idlib agreement to advance broader aims to bring the devastating war to a close.

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