The creation of the demilitarized zone in the Syrian jihadist-held province of Idlib, the last stronghold of the armed jihadists in the Arab country, shows the success that Russia has reached in Syria, according to an article in the Independent newspaper.
The author of the article, Patrick Cockburn, stresses that “Russia was in reality always stronger than it looked, because even after the collapse of the Soviet Union the country remained a nuclear nation “capable of destroying the world.”
“The return of Russia as a great power was always inevitable but was accelerated by successful opportunism and crass errors by rival states,” the columnist believes.
According to the author, the agreement signed between Russia and Turkey on the future of Idlib “is a token of how far Russia has come out on top in Syria”.
The journalist points out that Vladimir Putin is able to enter into an agreement with NATO’s second-largest military power, Turkey, without any reference to the United States or other members of the alliance.
” The priority for Turkey is to prevent the creation of a Kurdish statelet under US protection in Syria and for this it needs Russian cooperation. It was the withdrawal of the Russian air umbrella protecting the Kurdish enclave of Afrin this year that enabled the Turkish army to invade and take it over,” he says.
Cockburn thinks the signed document gives Turkey relative freedom to expand its military presence in northern Syria, but Ankara could do so only with the approval of Moscow.
On Monday, Russian and Turkish President Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in the Russian city of Sochi, where they agreed to create until 15 October a demilitarized zone along the line of contact between the opposition armed forces and Syrian government forces in Idlib province, while defense ministers from both countries signed a memorandum on stabilizing the situation in Idlib’s de-escalation zone. Between 19 and 21 September, the Russian and Turkish military met in Ankara and set the boundaries of the future demilitarized zone.