Preparations by the Turkish and Russian Forces are underway to begin observing the demilitarized buffer area in conjunction with calm prevails areas of the truce agreed between both parties
The area stretching from the northern Latakia mountains through the countryside of Hama and Idlib to the northwestern countryside of Aleppo -which is the demilitarized buffer area- which was agreed on the 17th of September 2018, continues to witness cautious calm in conjunction with the continuous Turkish and Russian preparations to begin monitoring the demilitarized area and to control its security, after finishing withdrawing the heavy weapons yesterday, Tuesday, the 9th of October 2018, and it is not known whether all the factions without exception have completely withdrawn their heavy weapons, or they have kept a section of them within the buffer area, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights published yesterday, Tuesday, that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights learned that the buffer area which extends from the northern Latakia mountains passing through the countryside of Hama and Idlib to the northwestern countryside of Aleppo, which was agreed upon on the 17th of September 2018 after a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, where the area is completely free of all the “manifestations of heavy weapons there”, as it is not known if all the factions –without exception– have withdrawn the entire heavy weapons outside the buffer area, or if a section of it remained hidden within the buffer area, after the Syrian Observatory had published Tuesday morning that Syrian Observatory for Human Rights continues the process of monitoring the buffer area, which was established in accordance with the Russian – Turkish agreement, where the Syrian Observatory monitored that the majority of the buffer area (agreed between Putin and Erdogan, extending from the northern Latakia mountains through the countryside of Hama and Idlib to the northwestern countryside of Aleppo) are now free of heavy weapons, as a result of withdrawing part of them by the rebel and Islamic factions and the “Jihadi” factions, and concealing the other part, while activists of the Syrian Observatory continue monitoring some of the areas in which heavy weapon of the “Jihadi” group still exists while fighter factions operating in the buffer area and rejecting the Russian – Turkish agreement were withdrawing their heavy weapons from the area agreed between Russia and turkey, after the Syrian Observatory published yesterday, Monday, that Syrian Observatory for Human Rights learned that the area to be disarmed in accordance with Turkish – Russian agreement became almost free of heavy weapons of armored vehicles, mortar pieces and others, where the rebel and Islamic factions in the provinces of Aleppo, Hama, Idlib and Lattakia, have withdrawn heavy weapons secretly from the buffer area which is extended from the northern mountains of Lattakia to the north-western countryside of Aleppo passing through both northern and north-western countryside of Hama, the southern, south-eastern and eastern countryside of Idlib, and the southern, western and north-western countryside of Aleppo, in addition that the “jihadist”, rebel and Islamic factions have hidden the heavy weapons in the northern mountains of Lattakia through digging covered trenches in order to hide the heavy weapons in the area.
The Syrian Observatory published hours ago, that the withdrawals of heavy weapons continue from the Russian – Turkish demilitarized area, which was agreed upon after a meeting between Putin and Erdogan in the second half of September 2018, and intersected sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that the withdrawal of weapons have transformed most of the demilitarized area into an area almost empty of heavy weapons, where the northern and northwest countryside of Hama and the southeastern countryside of Idlib have been almost completely withdrawn of weapons, while no heavy weapons are visible within the areas of control of the rebel and Islamic factions and the “Jihadi Factions”, while the intersected sources confirmed that the heavy weapons are still exist in the northern mountains of Latakia, where they were concealed in trenches built for this purpose, and the trenches were covered from the top so they can’t be seen and monitored, in the preparation to implement the Russian – Turkish agreement to be launched in the buffer area within the next 48 hours, after a consensus between the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Syrian Observatory published this morning that the Islamic and rebel factions are still continuing the withdrawals of their heavy machinery from the buffer area to their camps and positions in Jabal al-Zawiyah and areas at the border with Iskenderun, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights learned that the northern countryside of Hama within the buffer area is almost free of heavy weapons in application of the terms of the demilitarized area’s agreement, where the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights did not monitor any kind of heavy weapons within the demilitarized area, in the northern countryside of Hama within areas such as Morek, Zakat, al-Lataminah, Lahaya. And similar to the northern countryside of Hama; the factions of the eastern and southeastern countryside of Idlib within the supposed buffer area have finished withdrawing most of their heavy weapons from the area, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights received information that the “Jihadi” factions have withdrawn their heavy weapons in secret and away from announcing it.
The Syrian Observatory published on the evening of yesterday, Sunday, that activists of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored factions of the National Liberation Front and other Islamic factions operating in the area; continuing withdrawing their heavy weapons from the first lines of contact, which are located within the presumed buffer area and agreed upon following a Turkish – Russian meeting, where the Syrian Observatory learned that the factions are transporting their heavy weapons to their camps and sites located within border areas with Iskenderun at the countryside of Idlib in addition to Jabal al-Zawiyah, and in a related context, Jihadi and leaders of Islamic and Jihadi factions continue to publicly reject the Turkish – Russian agreement about the buffer area, where Abu Malik al-Shami –aka Abu Malik al-Talli–one of prominent leaders in Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham in al-Qalamoun before he came to Idlib after the displacement, during the “reconciliation and settlements ” in Qalamoun, he announced his rejection for the agreement and the buffer area including pulling the heavy weapon, and he added:
“The devil called them to pull their heavy weapons and they responded to him, and they started pulling tanks, vehicles, mortars, and cannons, so, will they also respond to him by handing over arms and leaving the Ribat points in application of the Sochi Conference and the conference of shame, so the Jihad in the land of Sham ends? What a shame they do, but no way, have the people forgotten the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that ALLAH ensured al-Sham and its people, so be sure that ALLAH will replace anyone who betrays and sells the blood of martyrs, and anyone who forgot or pretended to have forgotten our honors that are still being violated in prisons, and that those will regret when regret does not do any good, O honest Jihadis of all the factions respond to the command of ALLAH and follow his words, not the words of the Shaytan, do not be fooled by the so many doomed people for the fate of ALLAH is all over us, so ask ALLAH for his blessings and ask him to be steadfast, for the victory of ALLAH is coming for sure, and do not be as those who worship ALLAH according to the fate; if they fate bear any good they feel good and if not they left their believe and lose their life and the afterlife, where the next stage is a stage of loyalty and disavowal, and a stage of certainty and good belief in ALLAH”.
The Syrian Observatory published hours ago that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored more violations which targeted places in the area to be disarmed in accordance with the Russian – Turkish agreement, which has been witnessing a Russian – Turkish truce since the 15th of August 2018, where the Syrian Observatory monitored sporadic shelling by the regime forces on areas in the northern mountains of Lattakia, the regime forces also targeted areas in Jazraya village in the southern sector of Aleppo countryside, which caused material damage, without information about casualties, and this ongoing violation to the Russian – Turkish truce, is coincided with withdrawals carried out by the factions which are located in the area to be disarmed in accordance with the Russian – Turkish agreement, where sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory that factions operating in the northern countryside of Hama and the southern countryside Idlib, have withdrawn some of their heavy vehicles and artillery pieces without announcing about that, towards areas beyond the planned buffer zone, and the sources confirmed that the vehicles were observed retreating towards the north amid confirmed information about that at least one of these vehicles is of Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham.
The Syrian Observatory published hours ago, that the area that was decided to be disarmed according to the Russian – Turkish agreement, continues to be marked by uneven attitudes and implementation, where the activists of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights did not monitor any public withdrawals of “Jihadi” groups from the to-be-disarmed area, where these groups control about 70% of this area, in which attempts are being made to persuade all factions in it to hand over their weapons, and activists of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor the “Jihadi” factions creating trenches closed from the top to hide the heavy weapons inside them within the disarmament area in the northern countryside of Latakia, also the rebel and Islamic factions of Ahrar al-Sham, al-Sham Corps, and the 1st and 2nd Sahiliya Divisions have not carried out any withdrawals from their areas of presence in Latakia countryside, and followed the “jihadi” factions in the process of concealing heavy weapons in closed trenches, while it is not known whether Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham and other factions have carried out withdrawals of heavy machinery and mortars artilleries during the night hours away from media and announcing, as did the Free Idlib Army Faction and al-Sham Corps Faction of the National Liberation Front, where they have been carrying out successive withdrawals of heavy weapons of cannons and heavy vehicles since the 30th of September 2018, also the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights received information about the withdrawal of heavy machineries of the Islamic movement of Ahrar al-Sham and Soqur al-Sham from Maarrat al-Nu’man countryside at the southern countryside of Idlib.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights published before sundown of yesterday that Syrian Observatory for Human Rights learned that the areas to be disarmed in accordance with agreement between Turkey and Russia, are witnessing new withdrawals of heavy weapons, and in the details obtained by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights; away from the media and without announcing about what is going on, Al-Sham Corps and the Free Idlib Army tend to withdraw heavy mortars from both eastern and south-eastern countryside of Maarrat Al-Nu’man, and reliable sources confirmed that the withdrawal is being carried out without being announced about, as the 2 factions’ fear of the reaction of the residents and the popular incubator, and for fear of exploiting this action by the “jihadist” groups which are in control of more than 70% of the area to be disarmed in the provinces of Aleppo, Hama, Idlib and latakia, also, reliable sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory that heavy vehicles of Al-Sham Corps were watched in the countryside of Jarjnaz area, and they are not known whether they brought out from the to-be-disarm area, or they were already outside it, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights published on the 30th of September 2018, that an Islamic corps close to Turkey has begun the process of withdrawing its forces from areas in which the disarmament process will take place; in accordance with the Russian – Turkish agreement, and in the details obtained by the Syrian Observatory: the Corps is beginning to withdraw its machineries from the to-be-disarmed areas in the coming period, where the withdrawal from this area took place within the southern countryside of Aleppo, which is adjacent to the northern sector of Idlib Province countryside, and the sources confirmed that the Corps is the second in terms of size of its assets among the factions operating on the Syrian ground, and the third power in terms of number of soldiers among the same factions, and it carried out this withdrawal at the request of the Turks, while the withdrawal came after the activists of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights published on 29th of September 2018, that activists of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights so far have not monitored any withdrawal of any group of factions from their positions and points within the buffer area, which was agreed upon after the Turkish – Russian meeting that took place more than two weeks ago, and 48 hours after the Turkish intelligence meeting with leaders of the factions working in the area, while no heavy weapon withdrawals were carried out until the moment, amid resentment and disaffection among the factions after the Turkish intelligence service told them that the regime forces will not retract any step and will not pull their heavy weapon backwards. In the same context, the Syrian Observatory monitored the factions of Free Idlib Army of the National Liberation Front pulling some of its heavy artilleries like the mortars from Abu Makkah area, which is located within the buffer area, but it is not known why they guns were withdrawn yet; whether it was a start of implementing the Russian – Turkish agreement or not, the activists of the Observatory also monitored Soqur al-Sham faction of the National Liberation Front withdrawing its heavy vehicles like tanks from Jarjanaz area east of Maarrat al-Nu’man city towards Jabal al-Zawiyah, fearing any possible attack from Hayyaat Tahrir on Soqur al-Sham in the area and seizing their heavy weapons, against the backdrop of tension between both parties in the area on Friday evening.
High resolution link of the map distribution of forces of conflict east of Euphrates River in the last enclave of the “Islamic State” Organization and its surroundings
High resolution link for infographic casualties during the first month of military operations on the east banks of Euphrates River