At the meeting of the Russian and US PresidentsVladimir PutinиDonald TrumpOn the G20 fields in Hamburg, an agreement was reached on the cessation of hostilities in one of the four zones of de-escalation. More precisely, the US should "influence" this direction towards "moderate opposition", and Russia - on the president of SyriaBashar al-Assad.
Externally - almost "about anything." In fact, Russia's victory. And also the US, which Russia has persuaded not to spit on the graves of 3000 11 2001 victims of XNUMX September from the hands of Al Qaeda terrorists.
Recall that the memorandum on the creation of four zones of de-escalation in Syria was signed in Astana on 4 May during the inter-Syrian talks. The guarantors of the document were Russia, Turkey and Iran. Washington, which at first torpedoed this format, and in April was present at the talks in the person of the ambassador in the capital of Kazakhstan, in May raised the level of representation to an official observer, sending to Astana the acting president. Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle EastStuart Jones. US Secretary of StateRex Tillerson"Asked Jones to visit the talks this week," the State Department then said between the case.
A month later in Hamburg, the US actively joined the Syrian settlement in fact as the fourth guarantor, along with Russia, Turkey and Iran. If not to say that a few pushed the last two.
The four de-escalation zones should include the areas still held by the "moderate opposition". The first (from the north to the south) and the largest - conditionally "Idlib" zone - includes almost the entire province of the same name and the neighboring territories of the provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, and Khama. The second lies north of Homs. It can be provisionally called "Rastan" after the name of the third largest city of the province after the Homs and Palmyra. The third is the suburb of Damascus East Guta. The fourth is two-thirds of the province of Daraa, as well as the part of the province of Quneitra that remains with Syria (most of it is the Golan Heights - annexed by Israel) and several settlements in the west of the province of Suwayda on the border with Daraa.
In accordance with the Astana agreements, security zones were to provide access to humanitarian supplies, restoration of infrastructure, economic activity and as a comprehensive settlement - legal authorities - moved forward.
In order to do this, within the first month, that is, to 4 June, the parties were to draw up accurate maps of de-escalation zones, and in turn, in turn, complete the preparation of maps "for the separation of armed opposition groups from terrorist groups".
The terrorist groups recognized by both the Western coalition, as well as Syria, the Russian Federation and Iran are the prohibited IGIL (IG, DASH) and "An-Nusra" - the branch of Al Qaeda in Syria and Lebanon.
Here, the parties faced a problem, or rather, once again faced with a problem that hampered the settlement for a year and a half, since the beginning of the first attempts to find effective cooperation between the two antiterrorist coalitions. This attitude to An-Nusra.
With IGIL everything became clear and irreversible almost immediately. As one of the American authors said, the IGIL public executions of hostages, the mass extermination of gentiles and the destruction of historical monuments, said with a note of regret, "demonstrated an incorrect strategy," which, alas, made it impossible to reconcile with him ever under any circumstances. Read: if IGIL did not demonstrate its cannibalistic ideology too openly, the "civilized world" would try to find a common language with it. But too many in the US, Turkey, not speaking about the "moderate opposition" and the monarchies of the Persian Gulf, were ready to believe that An-Nusra was not lost completely and accept the version of her ... self-destruction.
The fact is that Americans and Europeans could not shake hands with Al Qaeda leaders under the flag of Al Qaeda. In order to eliminate the conflict, An-Nusra certainly did not turn down the activities in Syria, but first she declared a "break" with Al-Qaeda, and then even changed her name from "Jabhat an Nusra" (Assistance Front) to "Jabhat Fatah Al- Sham "(Front of the conquest of Syria). It turned out a bit strange: nevertheless the word "help" sounds less aggressive than "conquest", but who from Europeans will pay attention to such details? But the new name "wiped" among the numerous "kataibs" (brigades), "Liv" (divisions) and other units of the "conquest" of the long-suffering "ash-Sham".
True, the group overdid it when, in March 2015, announced the accession to the coalition of several "conditionally moderate" organizations - "Jays al-Fatah" (the Army of Conquest). Than only discredited the new allies: quite well-known "Akhrar ash Sham" (completely "Kataib Ahrar ash-Sham" - "Brigades of free people of Syria"), "Muslim brothers" and others, as it was said, "conditionally moderate".
In particular, "Ahrar ash Sham" is included in the list of terrorist organizations not only in Syria, but also in the United Arab Emirates. As you know, Saudi, Qatar and the UAE have their own clientele in Syria, Libya, Yemen and further - from Mali to the Philippines. Accordingly, foreign clients often appear in the list of terrorists. As the crisis around Qatar showed, sometimes - together with sponsors. These are the differences in the "types of terrorism".
Although the fact that Qatar, accused by Saudi and the Emirates of supporting terrorism, immediately began to fuse the information about the ties between Saudi Arabia and the Emirates and their terrorists, inspires certain optimism. As they say, "we sincerely wish good luck to all parties."
The draft resolution proposed by Russia in the UN Security Council condemning "Ahrar ash-Sham" (al-Qaeda's open ally!) As a terrorist organization, the Western partners failed.
In order to somehow clean up the tails for the allies in the coalition in January 2017, An-Nusra emerged under a new brand - like "Hayat Tahrir ash Sham" (the Liberation Committee of Syria), also in the guise of a coalition, which, however, Minor organizations. At the same time, the issue of eliminating the "other An-Nusra" - "Jabhat Fatah ash-Sham" does not go at all: only part of the attention to "Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham" is being dragged from it.
Without hinting at anything, let's pay attention to the fact that although the creation of the second organization was announced a week after the inauguration of Trump, the work was carried out clearly much earlier. Perhaps the idea was to further virtual cloning "an-nusr", so as to one day throw opponents a reproach in paranoia: "And this is An-Nusra? And this?! And this?! Yes to you in general everywhere an-nusry seem! ". The reception is ancient, like the world.
Tolerance of Western partners to An-Nusra is understandable: this international terrorist group is the backbone of anti-government forces in Syria. Moreover, most of the "moderate opposition" units are under its operational command, if not at all its legal cover.
Again, it is about Al Qaeda responsible for the death of 3000 Americans 11 September 2001 and, incidentally, more than 3000 Americans (mostly military, as well as employees of PMCs) in Afghanistan from 2001. This is not counting a couple of thousands of NATO allies and tens of thousands of Afghan allies. Victims among civilians are counted.
Therefore, an attempt to whitewash Syrian Al-Qaeda by the previous US administration, statements about the "difficulties" of separating the "moderate opposition" from the re-incarnations of An-Nusra were just a spit on the graves of the dead. Moreover, this is the softest possible definition. Let's hope that Hamburg has cemented a turning point in relation to the United States towards this organization.
Consider the de-escalation zone of Idlib on the map of the fighting in Syria. White spots are the territories controlled by An-Nusra. As you can see, some of the forces of the terrorist group "press" to the Turkish border, feeling relatively comfortable under the protection of Turkish air defense: the Syrian aviation has already lost several cars here.
But this also means that almost all the flows of arms and militants across the Turkish border pass through the areas controlled by An-Nusra. And if the flows go through a narrow mountain area on the border with the province of Latakia, controlled by the "moderate", then along the way even to the provincial capital of Idlib fall into the second ring of An-Nusra. Well, how does the "moderate" keep the front, say, in the southern suburbs of Aleppo without interaction with terrorists?
In fact, the picture is even more complicated and hundreds of settlements, including Idlib itself and almost all relatively large cities, are under the joint control of "terrorists and moderate". Sorry for the inappropriate quotation: "inseparably and nesljanno."
Only in one southern part of the Idlib zone, the terrorists of An-Nusra recognize the presence directly at the front line. No riddle. It was here that repeated attempts were made to break through to Hama and the Rastan zone, with further cut-off from Damascus of the coastal provinces of Latakia and Tartus, and also the only road to Aleppo.
Last time the hardest fighting in this direction unfolded in March - April of this year, when terrorists ("terrorist terrorists" and "moderate terrorists") stormed the outskirts of Khama. Having been defeated and rolled back to the original, "moderate opposition" habitually declared that she was "out of the box": this sector of the front is controlled by An-Nusra.
Well, about what boundaries of de-escalation zones here can we talk about? What kind of attack on terrorists, without affecting the "moderate"?
What zones of de-escalation can be discussed in Rastan and in East Gut, where - directly anecdote - just before the G20 summit, demonstrative skirmishes broke out between the "moderate" and the An-Nusrovites? Why not show the presence of "healthy forces" in these zones of de-escalation? But since the US and Russia did not conclude ceasefire agreements on these zones, the "battles" ended safely immediately after the meeting in Hamburg. It seems that An-Nusra and the "moderate" were well informed about the agenda of the meeting of the two Presidents, and it is unlikely that the leakage occurred on the Russian side.
The Rastan stretch from the west to the east cuts the north and south of Syria, this is the source of constant threats to Hama and Homs. To give peace to terrorists in East Gut means to receive endlessly new shelling, new tunnels and terrorist attacks in the center of Damascus.
The terrorists include Ahrar ash Sham, Al-Nusra's main ally in the Idlib and Rastan areas, and Jays al-Islam (the Army of Islam) in East Gut. It should not be called all the other groups "dancers" or criminal gangs, but the two together with An-Nusra (in its different guises) represent nine-tenths of the combat power of forces outside of the IGIL opposing the government of Syria.
All the year and a half of the search for settlement principles, the Russian government tried to convey to the Western partners two obvious thoughts. The first: tricks with "disguise" and "beard trim" of An-Nusra are meaningless. Information about her and not only her militants is carefully collected and systematized - this is a security issue not only for Syria, but for Russia, as well as for the countries of the West themselves. The second thought: if a group of "moderate opposition" is under the single operational command with terrorists, coordinates its actions with terrorists, participates in general operations with terrorists, then these "moderate" terrorists. And they are the legitimate aim of attacks.
So, 7 July, Putin and Trump agreed on a cease-fire only in one de-escalation zone - "South", "South", "Dara".
Obviously, it was Russia who insisted that this zone should be called "South-West of Syria" in the future, and that the provinces to which it is distributed should be listed: Dara, Kuneitra, Suwayda. The reason is clear: to stop the possibility of speculation about the belonging to this zone of the territories occupied by the opposition today, which are not covered by the agreement on zones of de-escalation. It is, first of all, a large massif along the borders of Jordan and Iraq, i.e., rather, south-east of Syria (referring to the provinces of Damascus and Homs, not mentioned in the memorandum!), As well as part of the territory of the province of Suwayda, but in opposite side of the de-escalation zone.
Yes, even in the "South-West of Syria" zone there are several settlements that swore to An-Nusra, and even its "corner of IGIL", oddly enough, at the junction of the borders of Syria and Jordan with the Golan Heights occupied by Israel. It will be interesting to observe how the "sound forces" under the aegis of the US will cope with this problem. Probably a proven way to "cut beards". But on the whole, we can say that the US has recently managed to clear the moderate opposition in Dara from frankly fundamentalist forces and influence.
Anyway, but at noon on June 11, the cease-fire agreement came into force. The boundaries of the de-escalation zone are coordinated. In the near future, we can expect the end of negotiations on the format of the observer mission and the creation of a checkpoint, where Russian military police from the Chechen and Ingush republics will also serve.
It seems that our forecast ("The US and Russia's battle for At-Tanf: is there an alternative?") Is coming true, according to which, this zone of de-escalation will ultimately pass under effective control of Jordan. The third party to the agreement on the South-West zone of Syria, along with the Russian Federation and the United States, was Jordan. As far as we know, Israel took an active part in the work on the US-Russian-Jordanian memorandum at the stage of its preparation. The monitoring center will be located in the capital of Jordan, Amman.
The ideal solution would be the evacuation of militants and their families from the eastern Guta and Rastan to the South-West. Chances to achieve this will be greater if Damascus agrees with the territorial exchange of East Guta and Rastan for the "wedge" cutting the Southwest Zone and for part of the province of Quneitra along the Golan Heights.
For Damascus, as we wrote earlier, a window of opportunity opens up that Syria will lose access to the Golan Heights (with the exception of about five kilometers off the border with Lebanon, where the sources of the Avaj River, important for the water supply of southern Damascus, Eternal "demilitarized zone). Bashar Assad, even without officially recognizing Israel, will receive a "technical excuse" to end the state of war with Israel, to lift the issue of the occupation of the now "Jordanian" Golan Heights and the "Zionist occupation of Palestine" in general.
Not destroyed Syria to fight for the "ideals of the Arab world" after in November 2011 it was thrown out of the League of Arab States, when only Lebanon and Yemen voted against it, and even Iraq abstained. And today, when the soil is being accelerated for the recognition of Israel by the Gulf monarchies.
Damascus needs to break through the anti-Syrian front. In the South-West, this is associated with lower costs and promises more gains than in the forthcoming settlement of relations with Turkey, the Kurds, the future Sunni state of the disintegrating Iraq. Having achieved a settlement in the southwest with Jordan and indirectly with Israel, split the anti-Syrian front, Damascus will be able to conduct subsequent negotiations with stronger positions.
The war in Syria began in March 2011 with armed clashes in the city of Daraa. Here she has a chance to end.