03:11 GMT +322 August 2019
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    Turkish soldiers stand in a Turkish army tank driving back to Turkey from the Syrian-Turkish border town of Jarabulus on September in the Turkish-Syrian border town of Karkamis. (File)

    How 'Turkey’s Change of Heart Towards Syria' Made Russia-US Deal Possible

    © AFP 2019 / BULENT KILIC
    Middle East
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    The fact that Turkey has supported the Russia-US agreement on Syria is optimistic. Ankara's change of heart towards the Syrian crisis paves the way for peaceful settlement, experts said.

    On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his American counterpart John Kerry held talks in Geneva, which resulted in a package of five documents aimed at resolving the Syrian crisis.

    The agreement between Russia and the US on Syria include several important points, including securing a nationwide ceasefire and, when hostilities stop establishing a Joint Implementation Center to develop military strikes against terrorists. The agreement also requires humanitarian access to areas in need.

    A ceasefire came into force across Syria earlier on September 12.

    The Syrian government welcomed the agreement and pledge to observe the ceasefire.

    Turkey also welcomed the agreement and said it was ready to provide humanitarian aid.

    "We welcome with satisfaction the Russia-US deal on Syria. The ceasefire coming into force in the first days of Eid al-Adha holiday will be very important for the flow of humanitarian aid, first of all to Aleppo. Turkey is ready to take part in humanitarian aid deliveries to Syria within the United Nations framework," Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    The ceasefire was also supported by the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Hezbollah fighters and Syrian Kurds. At the same time, the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group (formerly al-Nusra Front) and the Saudi-backed militant organization Ahrar Al-Sham said they would reject the ceasefire.

    The Independent reported that according to the Lavrov-Kerry plan, moderate anti-government forces are supposed to separate themselves from al-Nusra Front, and then airstrikes would be planned against the terrorist group. 

    "Such separation is very important and it can be possible," Gumer Isayev, head of the St. Petersburg Center for Middle Eastern Studies, told RT. "What is more important is Turkey’s change of heart towards the Syrian crisis. It paves the way for resolving the crisis," he stressed.

    It is important that the Fath al-Khaleb group comprising over 30 groups in Aleppo and Idlib observes the ceasefire. In northern Syria, many of those groups coordinate actions with Turkey, Anton Madrasov from the Institute for Innovative Development said.

    "In August, those groups said they would agree on a ceasefire and delivery of humanitarian aid to Aleppo. Now, it seems like Moscow, Washington, Damascus and Ankara came to an agreement not to attack those groups," Madrasov pointed out.

    He also commented on the possible role of the ceasefire in the Syrian settlement.

    "This is not the first time a ceasefire has been agreed for Syria and each time it has been violated. The Syrian conflict involves a number of forces, it is not only about talks between Russia and the US. But this time a ceasefire looks optimistic because it is agreed between Russia, the US and, what is very important, Turkey," the expert said.


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    ceasefire, military conflict, humanitarian aid, agreement, Al-Nusra Front, Free Syrian Army (FSA), Turkey, Syria, United States, Russia
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