The Sochi Agreement Map: Understanding the Geopolitical Landscape in Syria
The Sochi Agreement Map refers to a series of maps that illustrate the areas of influence and control in the Syrian conflict following the Sochi Agreement signed in September 2018. The agreement was negotiated between Russia and Turkey and aimed to establish a demilitarized zone in Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold in Syria. The map is essential in understanding the complex geopolitical landscape of the Syrian conflict and the power dynamics between different groups and their allies.
The Sochi Agreement Map shows the boundaries of the demilitarized zone, which extends 15-20 kilometers deep into rebel-held territory in Idlib. The agreement also calls for the withdrawal of all heavy weapons, including tanks and artillery, from the area. The purpose of the demilitarized zone is to prevent a full-scale military operation by the Syrian government and its allies against the rebels in Idlib, which would result in a humanitarian catastrophe.
The Sochi Agreement Map shows that the demilitarized zone is not only in rebel-controlled areas but also includes government-held areas, which indicates the complexity of the conflict. The agreement recognizes the role of Turkey as the main sponsor of the opposition and Russia as the primary supporter of the Syrian government. Turkey has been backing opposition groups in Syria since the start of the conflict, while Russia has supported the Syrian government militarily since 2015.
The Sochi Agreement Map also shows the areas controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the United States. The SDF controls a significant part of northeastern Syria, including the city of Raqqa, which was the former capital of the Islamic State group (IS). The SDF has been a key partner of the US-led coalition against IS, which was defeated in March 2019, but its future is uncertain following the US withdrawal from northeastern Syria in October 2019.
The Sochi Agreement Map highlights the link between the Syrian conflict and regional and global powers. Iran, which supports the Syrian government, has a significant influence on the ground through its proxies, including the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). Israel has carried out airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria, and the United States has imposed sanctions on Iran and its allies.
In conclusion, the Sochi Agreement Map is a valuable tool for understanding the complex geopolitical landscape of the Syrian conflict. It shows the boundaries of the demilitarized zone in Idlib, the areas controlled by different groups, and the involvement of regional and global powers, which plays a significant role in the conflict. The map highlights the need for a diplomatic solution to the conflict and the importance of international cooperation to solve the humanitarian crisis in Syria.