BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:10 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is pushing to launch a new operation to clear the 20-kilometer-deep demilitarized zone that stretches from northeast Latakia to western Aleppo.
According to a government source in Damascus, the Russian and Iranian delegations in Sochi this Thursday will present the case to their Turkish partners.
The source said that due to the jihadist refusal to leave the buffer zone, the Syrian Arab Army wants to clear the area itself and then allow Russian military personnel to deploy to the DMZ.
He added that while the Syrian Army wants to clear the Idlib Governorate of the militant groups, they are willing to negotiate a settlement in which they would just launch an operation to expel all the militants from the buffer zone.
In the past, Russia and Iran have met much opposition from their Turkish partners over a potential military operation inside the Idlib Governorate.
However, the demilitarized zone agreement has ultimately failed and the hostilities are still a daily occurrence in this area.
The only other scenario that could come about is a joint Turkish-Russian-Iranian operation in which they could all clear the demilitarized zone together.
This scenario would most likely be accepted by Turkey because it would allow them to be active in the operation, while also not including the Syrian government forces.