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Turkey may include radicals in the Syrian opposition, the expert said

Turkey wants to include in the Russian Federation banned the radical group "Hayat Tahrir al-sham"* in the Syrian opposition structures to increase its controllability and also to "hide" its radicalism, says RIAC expert Kirill Semenov.

According to Semenova, Turkey wants to conduct a "full reformat" groups and thus to get rid of it peacefully. The expert believes that Ankara agrees not to destroy the "Hayat Tahrir al-sham"*, and enter it in the opposition structure, but this grouping must be translated.

"That is, instead of war with him ("Hayat Tahrir al-Sham"*) they (the radicals) propose how to continue service in the ranks of the opposition and under the command of the opposition. But for this HTS* to be segmented so that individual pieces can be integrated into the military structure, with brigades and battalions... Then HTS* how would cease to be terrorists," - said Semenov RIA Novosti.

He noted that the group many Syrians, so they can be easily integrated in the opposition structures, but the problem will remain with the further fate of those members of the "Hyatt Tahrir al-sham"*, which are under the sanctions, in particular, one of the leaders of the organization, Abu Muhammad al-Dzhulani. According to Semenova, Turkey can offer the international community a kind of "Amnesty" for members of the group on the model of relations with the Afghan Taliban, once believed to be a terrorist organization, but in recent years, actively participating in international negotiations.

Semenov recalled that in 2018-2019 "Hayat Tahrir al-sham"* clashed with the Syrian opposition, which protects the Turkey. Further, according to him, Turkey would like to avoid such events, the opposition and the radicals were able to stand together against the Syrian army.

According to the expert, now in Syria, and about 20-25 thousand fighters "Hayat Tahrir al-sham"* and about 40 thousand soldiers of the opposition groups "national front" and the "Syrian national army". Turkey supports the opposition with weapons, the Turkish instructors are training the fighters. "Hayat Tahrir al-sham" in Turkey is not arming because the country group as terrorist, but the weapon its members come from the Syrian opposition. "During the fighting (against the Syrian army) they fall from the "National front". The Turks handed (weapons) "Front", and that they (militants). They are nothing like the side-by-side to fight against (Syrian President Bashar) Assad forced" - led Semenov example of such cooperation.

The expert believes that in Syria, and Turkey wishes to "keep the Syrian refugees and the opposition," a total of 3-4 million people. "The Turks want to continue (in Syria) the peace process with the tolerance of opposition to the governance structures, to Parliament, may, in the government, the army, about what was discussed before the creation of zones of de-escalation. Therefore, the Turks will keep Idlib, while Bashar al-Assad will not introduce them to people in power, as agreed, or he will not get Idlib" he said.

According to the expert, in Idlib there are about 20 thousand Turkish soldiers. "Three brigades: two mechanized and one brigade of commandos. More artillery and other forces support, air defense of the personnel of the air forces from the antiaircraft-rocket complexes of average range", - he said.

The situation in the Syrian Idlib worsened in late February when terrorists "Hayat Tahrir al-sham"* started a large scale offensive on the positions of Syrian government forces. The Syrian army returned fire. According to the defence Ministry of the Russian Federation, attacks and the Turkish military, which was not supposed to be there.

After the meeting of presidents of Russia and Turkey Vladimir Putin and Tayyip Erdogan in Moscow on 5 March, the situation was to withdraw from the edge of the precipice, the parties adopted a joint document in which he confirmed the commitment of "Astana" format and announced the ceasefire. In addition, Moscow and Ankara have agreed on joint patrolling of important highway M-4.

* A terrorist organization banned in Russia