Russia and Turkey have reached an agreement to reopen three humanitarian crossings in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib, Deputy Chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria, Alexander Karpov, announced on March 24.
According to Karpov, the agreement will see the reopening of Mizanaz and Abu Zindain crossings in Aleppo as well as Saraqib crossing in Idlib.
“This procedure represents a direct demonstration of our commitment to a peaceful settlement to the Syrian crisis on the local and international scales,” Karpov said in a press briefing.
The Russian commander expressed hopes that the new agreement will help to ease social tensions between Syrians, reunite many families and improve living conditions.
Last month, Damascus reopened the Saraqib crossing. However, al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the de-facto ruler of Greater Idlib, prevented civilians from reaching the crossing, which was also attacked.
Turkey, which maintains a fairly large force in Greater Idlib, will likely pressure HTS into accepting the new agreement. Ankara’s support has been essential for the survival of the terrorist group.
While HTS may not oppose the new Russian-Turkish agreement, opposition activists in Greater Idlib rejected opening of any crossings with government-held areas. This may hinder the implementation of the agreement.
Russia and Turkey will likely reveal more details on the new agreement in the upcoming few days. The agreement will ease humanitarian suffering in both government and opposition-held areas.
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