Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opposition and Russia Come to an Agreement in Ankara | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Turkish capital Ankara hosted talks between the Syrian opposition and Moscow that were attended by Turkish officials. The talks were devoted to the latest developments in Aleppo and halting military operations in the east of the city. According to available information, those taking part in the talks arrived at an agreement in principle that involves Jabhat Fath Al-Sham fighters leaving eastern Aleppo in exchange for an end to the bombing, opening safe corridors through which Jabhat Fath Al-Sham fighters can travel to Idlib and allowing the entry of aid into besieged neighbourhoods.

This came at a time when the armed opposition has agreed to form “The Army of Aleppo” which includes units from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and revolutionary factions. All units will work under a unified command in order to fight against what is happening in neighbourhoods in eastern Aleppo.

The Ankara meeting is of great importance because it coincides with an unprecedented escalation in Aleppo, and a leader of the Ahrar Al-Sham movement Mohammed Al-Shami said that “the meeting that took place in Ankara yesterday is the second in 24 hours”. He also told Asharq Al-Awsat that the meeting “was attended by 13 people representing opposition groups, Russian representatives and Turkish ones. US-backed opposition factions did not attend and neither did representatives of the Syrian regime and Iran”.

Al-Shami said “An agreement has been made to allow Jabhat Fath Al-Sham fighters to leave Aleppo via humanitarian corridors in exchange for halting the bombing and allowing humanitarian aid to enter through the Castello crossing under the guarantee of the Turkish government.” He explained that “this agreement will be presented to Fath Al-Sham on the condition that we receive their answer tomorrow in order to implement it “. The director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdul Rahman told Asharq Al-Awsat that this information is correct and pointed out that “these items were raised and agreed upon, but they are yet to be implemented.”

For his part, a member of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces named Ahmad Ramadan said that “Turkey is keen to sponsor these talks so that the bombing and continuous murder that is taking place in Aleppo can be stopped and so that the pretexts that Russia is using to justify its actions are invalidated. The issue of Fath Al-Sham fighters is the most important of these pretexts”.