Russia asks Turkey to open three Syrian crossing points

Russia asks Turkey to open three Syria crossing points connecting rebel, regime-held areas
2 min read
24 March, 2021
Russia has asked Turkey to reopen three crossing points between regime-held and rebel-held areas in Syria, citing ‘humanitarian’ concerns.
Russia and Turkey have carried out joint patrols in Syria's Idlib province [Turkish Defence Ministry]

Russia has asked Turkey to reopen three crossing points between regime-held and rebel-held areas in Syria, the Russian state news agency TASS reported on Tuesday.

Admiral Alexander Karpov, the deputy head of the Russian Centre for the Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria said that the request had been made “due to the difficult humanitarian situation in Syrian territories controlled by the Turkish armed forces”.

The three crossing points which Russia wants to open are the Saraqib and Miznas crossings in Idlib province and the Abu Zandin crossing near the city of Al-Bab in Aleppo province, according to TASS.

Russia has been a key backer of the Assad regime in the Syrian conflict, while Turkey has supported Syrian rebel groups and maintains observation posts in rebel-held northwestern Syria.

Read more: Syria Insight - Russia's intervention five years on

TASS said that Russia wanted to organise humanitarian deliveries and allow “refugees” to exit rebel-held territory through the three crossing points.

However, last July, Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution which would have allowed the UN to deliver aid across the Turkish-Syrian border without interference from the Syrian regime, seriously obstructing humanitarian relief to rebel-held areas of Syria.

Also on Wednesday, Syrian regime planes bombed several rebel-held towns in southern Idlib province, in violation of a ceasefire agreement reached by Turkey and Russia in March 2020.

Regime and Russian airstrikes in Syria have killed tens of thousands of civilians since Russia intervened in the Syrian conflict on the Assad regime’s side in September 2015.

On Sunday night, a Russian airstrike targeted aid trucks in northwestern Syria, killing at least one aid worker.

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