Turkish reinforcements arrive in countrysides of Hama and Idlib; Russia says that it would keep bombing Idlib if need be
Field and local developments:
On Saturday morning, a Turkish military convoy arrived at the Turkish observation base in the village of Sheir Maghar, northwest of Hama. The convoy consisted of four tanks, four military armored vehicles, along with three freight cars and five escort vehicles,
Activists told SMART that two tanks, two armored vehicles, and a freight car remained at the base of Sheir Maghar. The rest of the vehicles headed to the observation base in the Ashtabraq village in the countryside of Jisr al-Shughur, west of Idlib.
On Friday, the Turkish army transferred nine members of the Kurdish People's Protection Units to Turkey after being arrested in the town of Raju in Afrin near Aleppo. The members were taken to Turkey for trial for killing two Turkish soldiers after attacking their sites on Jan. 23.
Residents of the western area of Qalamoun in Rif Dimashq near the Syrian-Lebanese border, complained that they are not allowed to return to their homes after they returned from the Arsal area in Lebanon because members of the Lebanese Hezbollah militia seized their homes.
Forces of the Kurdish Autonomous Administration in the city of al-Raqqa, Northeastern Syria, formed joint patrols to force the owners of generators to turn them on, after they decided to turn the generators off in protest against reducing the price of electricity.
Political and international developments:
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia would keep bombing the governorate of Idlib, Northern Syria, if need be, but would open safe corridors for the exit of civilians, during a meeting with his German counterpart Heiko Maas in Berlin.
The Russian Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov as saying that Russia would keep bombing military targets in Idlib governorate if needed. He said the Russian air force would destroy what he called "terrorist making-facilities in Idlib" when is observes their sites.
During the meeting, Maas warned of a "major attack" planned by the Syrian government and his allies on Idlib. Earlier, he announced that Germany is ready to contribute to the reconstruction of Syria if a political solution is reached.
On Friday, a delegation from the Negotiations Committee, which was emerged from the Riyadh 2 conference of the Syrian opposition, met with the mini-group on Syria and with U.S. officials in the Swiss city of Geneva to discuss the situation in the city of Idlib, Northern Syria.
Meanwhile, the U.N. envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, met with the mini-group in Geneva, to discuss the developments of the Syrian topic. The participants issued no official statement.
On Friday, diplomatic representatives of Turkey, France, Germany and Russia met in the Turkish city of Istanbul to discuss the Syrian issue and prepare for a later meeting between the leaders of the four countries.
The Dutch government revealed that it would withdraw its aircraft from the International Coalition against the Islamic State (IS) at the end of this year. The Dutch government said that it decided not to extend the use of F-16 aircraft in the fight against the IS after next Dec. 31.
The Turkish intelligence services accused the Syrian government of being behind the explosion in the Rihaniyah district in the state of Hatay, Southern Turkey, in 2013. The blast killed 53 people and wounded dozens.
On Friday, security sources told Anatolia news agency that the investigation with Yousef Nazik, who is the planner of the explosion, revealed that the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Iskenderun, Maaraj Oral, had been involved in the explosion. Nazik admitted to planning the Rihaniyah attack based on instructions from the Syrian government's intelligence services. Nazik stressed his supervision of entering explosives from Syria to Turkey.