Syrian general: Idlib will be back in our hands whatever Turkey does

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A photograph, taken from Hatay's Reyhanli district located in Turkish side of the Syrian border, shows a general view of Atmeh town in rural areas of Idlib, on October 14, 2017. Cem Genco / Anadolu Agency

Syrian general Hasan Ahmed Hasan on Thursday said the city of Idlib would return to the Assad regime regardless of what Turkey does to prolong rebel control of the area, the Sputnik Turkish service reported.

He recalled that three other de-escalation zones created under the Astana agreements between Russia and Turkey were handed over to Syrian control.

“Turkey can maneuver, but even though Turkey is a member of NATO, in the end Idlib and the other parts of Syria end up like that,” Gen. Hasan said, adding that Russian diplomacy had been effective in the previous takeovers.

He also said Syria was ready to use force to recapture the rebel-held areas.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, signed an agreement on Idlib in October to establish a demilitarized zone and direct the rebel groups to that area without their heavy armor.

Turkish-backed rebel groups observed the agreement, but for larger rebel groups such as Tahrir al Sham the deadline has passed.

Moscow recently said it was satisfied with the agreement.

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