Syria opposition groups reject opening of crossings points with regime
Two senior Turkish sources told The New Arab’s sister publication, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, that no agreement had been reached between Moscow and Ankara regarding the opening of three crossing points between the different northern provinces.
A military source confirmed that an offer had been made by Russia. However, no agreement had been reached and negotiations are ongoing.
Following news of the offer, protests erupted in the city of Afrin and Azaz with demonstrators raising banners that said “Opening the crossings is a betrayal of the blood of the martyrs”.
Activists opposed to the opening say such a move would provide the regime with an economic outlet and would allow for the transfer of drug trafficking to opposition-controlled areas, as well as penetration by regime elements.
The proposal was also rejected by a group of officers who defected from the regime and call themselves ‘Academic Free Officers’. The group highlighted the regime’s refusal to show any flexibility regarding the issue of detainees.
On Wednesday, Russia proposed the opening of three crossing points in the Saraqib and Miznar region in eastern Idlib and the Abu Zendin crossing in northern Aleppo.
“The proposal includes launching two humanitarian truck delivery operations and the exit of displaced people through the corridors, as of 25 March,” said Alexander Karpov, deputy director of the Russian Reconciliation Center.
Hand in hand with the Russian proposal came intensive bombing of opposition areas by the regime and Russia.
Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham, who control large parts of Idlib province, had previously attempted to open a crossing with the regime, claiming that the move would revitalise production in the area.
The Islamist group stepped back from this decision following public pressure to change course.