Russia has threatened the Syrian opposition forces after they failed to meet a deadline set up by Russian and Turkish troops to enforce a new demilitarized zone in the city of Idlib.
The buffer zone required the withdrawal and separation of extremists from moderate opposition forces.
Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, announced that at the Syrian government’s request, Tehran would send “peacekeeping forces” to settle in Idlib and the northwestern areas in Aleppo.
The opposition’s last major stronghold
A military official for the Syrian opposition forces told Al-Arabiya that “Tehran’s announcement is an attempt to evade the agreement made in Sochi, but at the same time we are ready to fight. Our defense continues to be strong, and our forces are ready at the fronts.”
The official spokesman of the National Liberation Front, Captain Naji Mustafa, also spoke to Al-Arabiya and disclosed that “the statements made by the [Syrian] regime officials and its allies indicate that the agreement is temporary, which means they will not abide by it especially since they already broke the truce and bombed some of our positions.”
He added that there were no Russian forces in Idlib, the last major opposition stronghold in the country, but Iranian militias are currently present in areas under the regime’s control.
According to Hazem Dakel, a journalist from Idlib, the Syrian regime is trying to gain control over areas they previously lost.
He added that Russia threatened to send Iranian troops as a result of the opposition’s refusal to allow Russian forces in the city.
Two days ago, Russian media agencies quoted military sources in the Syrian regime who said that preparations for a major military operation in southern Idlib will continue unless the area is not demilitarized.