BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:20 A.M.) – Syrian military expert Ra’ed Jaber told Sputnik Radio on Friday that Russia will likely avoid a large-scale offensive in the Idlib Governorate.
“The situation there is very turbulent, with the continuation of the military operations for two and a half months, while Turkey has not yet fulfilled its obligations under the Sochi Agreement on Idlib,” Jaber told Sputnik Radio.
Jaber told Sputnik Radio that Russians do not want a large-scale military operation in Idlib; instead, he said, Moscow prefers a diplomatic approach with Ankara that would see the Turkish Armed Forces replace the militants in the demilitarized zone.
“There is more than one scenario that has been put in place recently, including the urging of Turkey to fulfill its obligations, but more importantly, to effectively dismantle and target the areas controlled by the terrorists from Al-Nusra Front (Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham,” Jaber said.
The military expert said that Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham is the most radical faction in northwestern Syria and a major determent to the peace process because they reject any dialogue and ceasefires.
Jaber said the “humanitarian crisis” is often brought up in regards to Idlib because it is used to protect the jihadists in the governorate, something Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov previously pointed out.
He stressed that “there is a danger to the lives of civilians already in Idlib, but the problem is in the U.S. policy that is used as a pretext to protect the Al-Nusra Front and make it a partner at the negotiations table.”
It should be pointed out that Russia has denied any involvement in ground operations in northwestern Syria.