Originally published at: Turkey finally begins construction of fourth observation point in Idlib
DAMASCUS, SYRIA (07:00 PM) - Turkey has started construction of its fourth observation point in the Syrian province of Idlib, which is part of a de-escalation mission that was agreed upon with Russia and Iran, as well as with Damascus.
“As part of agreements on de-escalation zones reached in Astana, our servicemen have started to construct the fourth observation point… in Idlib. Moreover, we are going to start the work on the construction of two more such points,”
Simultaneously, a Turkish convoy made its way to the assigned location for the base in Idlib, with the mission of carrying aid and ensuring the safe return of internal refugees.
Turkey is one of the peace-guarantor states in the tripartite de-escalation agreement signed with Russia and Iran. However, Turkey has received criticism since signing the deal for not contributing sufficiently. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last month that Moscow hoped for a quick deployment of all promised Turkish observation points in Idlib, adding that Turkey had only built three out of twenty planned such bases in the Syrian province.
The process of de-escalation seems to have finally sped up with the new Turkish pledge, which comes right after a deadly attack on a Russian Su-25 aircraft by terrorist forces residing in Idlib, as well as an explosive vehicle attack on a Turkish peacekeeping convoy in the province on January 30.
Four de-escalation zones were established in Syria after the conclusion of the Astana Talks in 2017: one in Idlib and parts of the neighboring Latakia, Hama, and Aleppo provinces; another one in the north of the central Homs province; a third one in Eastern Ghouta near Damascus; and lastly a zone in certain parts of the country’s southern Daraa and Quneitra provinces.
Turkey, along with Russia and Iran, is one of the guarantors of the agreement, which seeks to establish a peace agreement between Syria and moderate rebel groups. However, terrorist organisations tied to ISIS or Al-Qaeda, are excluded from the peace offer.