Turkey's efforts to maintain the Sochi deal that was signed with Russia concerning Syria's northwestern Idlib province is hailed by the Syrian opposition as the head of the opposition Syrian Negotiation Commission (SNC), Nasr Hariri, said that the deal remains standing so far thanks to Turkey.
In exclusive statements to Anadolu Agency (AA), Hariri said that the Sochi deal was an important tool for pressuring the regime forces and its allies.
"This deal prevented Russia, the regime and Iranians [the militias] from fully capturing Syrian soil by military force and moving away from reaching a political solution," he said.
After a Sept. 17 meeting in Sochi between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the two sides agreed to set up a demilitarized zone, in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited, in Syria's Idlib province.
According to the terms of the deal, opposition groups in Idlib will remain in areas in which they are already present, while Russia and Turkey will conduct joint patrols in the area with a view to preventing a resumption of fighting.
"With Turkey's support, the Sochi deal that protects the lives of civilians in Idlib remains standing," Hariri said. "While combating terrorist organizations in the region, Turkey also supports a political solution," he added. Hariri underlined that negotiations aiming to resolve the 8-year conflict in Syria have so far been fruitless. "The failure to form a constitutional committee is because Russia is trying to eliminate the UN role," according to the SNC leader. The chief opposition negotiator said the Syrian opposition is seeking to reach a political solution to the Syrian conflict under the United Nations umbrella. Hariri reiterated his support for the Turkey's position against the PKK's Syrian affiliate, the People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorist organization. "The YPG is an armed militia group that attempts to achieve its goals through brutal force," he said.
"They have committed numerous rights violations, massacres, tortures and forced migration of civilians," he added. Hariri also emphasized that the Syrian opposition would not accept the presence of foreign powers that would pose a threat towards neighbors.