TURKEY’S state-run Anadolu news agency has reported that the Nural-Din al-Zinki Islamist faction has removed rockets, mortars and missiles from the front line in Idlib to create the agreed demilitarised buffer zone separating rebel Islamists from Syrian government forces in Syria’s Idlib province.
The agreement is being overseen by Turkey, which sponsors the Islamist forces and rebels, and Russia, a key ally of the Assad government. Both Turkey and Russia have agreed to avert the need for a major Assad government assault on Idlib, the last major Islamist bastion in Syria.
The UN had warned that a full-scale battle could trigger a ‘humanitarian nightmare unlike any seen in the blood-soaked Syrian conflict’, while the US-UK had threatened an air assault on Syria in response. The Memorandum of Understanding between Russia and Turkey says that all ‘radical terrorist groups’ – including members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a powerful jihadist alliance once known as al-Nusra Front – will have to withdraw from the zone by 15 October.
It added that all other opposition armed groups would have to remove their tanks, multiple-launch rocket systems, artillery guns and mortars by 10 October. Turkey and Russia also agreed that ‘transit traffic’ would be restored on the highways – which run west from the city of Aleppo to Latakia on the Mediterranean coast and south to Hama – by the end of 2018. Anadolu cited its correspondent in Idlib as saying: ‘Opposition and other anti-regime groups’ completed the removal of heavy weapons on Monday.
The Syrian government welcomed the Idlib deal last month, with President Bashar al-Assad telling a meeting of the ruling Baath Party: ‘This province and other Syrian territory still under terrorist control will return to the Syrian state.’
In the aftermath of the Israeli-assisted downing of a Russian Airforce plane, Moscow supplied Syria, on October 1st, with three battalion sets of S-300 missile defence systems of eight launchers, without charge, meaning that very soon Syrian airspace and sovereignty will be secure from US-UK-French-Israeli air raids.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Russia’s decision to supply the air defence system to Syria as ‘irresponsible’ adding Tel Aviv ‘will continue to do what it has to do to defend itself.’ However, Israel has agreed to open a long-closed border crossing between it and the Israeli occupied Syrian Golan Heights – a decision that saw Syrian Druze marching on the occupied Heights waving Syrian flags and chanting in support of President Assad.
The Russian-supported defence of Syria and the victories of the Syrian-Russian-Iranian alliance against the UK-US-Saudi-backed Islamists have now left Israel at bay. Its elation after President Trump shifted the US embassy to occupied Jerusalem, and recognised it as the capital of Israel, and its elation at the massacre of Palestinians on its border with Gaza has now turned into a state of acute anxiety.
Netanyahu has responded by declaring that Israel’s illegal occupation of the Golan Heights will be permanent, saying: ‘Israel on the Golan Heights is a fact that the international community must recognise and as long as it depends on me, the Golan Heights will always remain under Israeli sovereignty.’
The Zionist regime is also egging on Trump to allow it to seize most of the occupied territories, after the US declaration that there are now no such people as Palestinian refugees. However, the tide has been turned against Israel and its racist policies, as the numbers of Jewish people marching against Israel’s racist state legislation show.
The way that the Syrian masses stood fast against imperialist-backed Islamist hordes to defend their Syrian state and prevent another Libya has changed everything.
The Palestinian people, reinforced by the victory of the Syrian masses, are now preparing a great push forward to establish their state, with the full support of the working people of the world. The state of Palestine will not be racist. It will be a secular state and will be home to the Arab, Christian, Muslim and Jewish people that live in Palestine. Forward to Palestine! Smash imperialism worldwide!