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Russia Concerned over ‘Syrian Violations’ - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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London – Russia is concerned over “violations” in Syria after last week’s two “dangerous incidents” when a senior Russian official was assassinated in Deir al-Zour and 28 soldiers were besieged between north Hama and north Idlib.

Moscow is seeking to “avenge” those responsible for the incidents and execute de-escalation agreements, including accepting the deployment of Turkish police in Idlib, in exchange for allowing Russia to rule the skies in the area.

Last week witnessed two developments that drove the Russian Ministry of Defense’s attention. The first was the death of Russian General Valery Asapov. The general, who is also head of regime advisers in operations against ISIS in Deir al-Zour, was attacked during Russian army support operations from Badiyah and Deir al-Zour.

The second development was during the deployment of Russian observers to ensure the execution of de-escalation agreement north of Homs and the military operations in the Hama countryside.

The Turkistan Islamic Army besieged 28 Russian soldiers and were prepared to kidnap them before the area was raided.

The Russian analysis of these incidents is that certain violations led to breach of information about the location of the Russian general and soldiers.

An informed Russian source reported that Moscow is investigating to see who is responsible for the breach. A decision has been made to escalate the military operations and navy bombing using Kaliber rockets.

Had the 28 soldiers been killed after the death of the adviser, it would have created a serious problem for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is preparing for elections set for early 2018, said the source.

Moscow will however proceed with its plan to establish de-escalation zones, stated the source, adding that the deployment plans of Russian observers in Homs had been distributed and Russia received a request from the opposition factions to pressure the regime to stop the bombardment in Ghouta, Damascus.

Furthermore, the summit between Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan resulted in determining the future of Idlib. The decision is expected to be confirmed following the summit between Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the blessing of major Arab countries.