Russia, Turkey agree to Idlib demilitarized zone

By Lorlornyofm September 17, 2018 18:30

Russia, Turkey agree to Idlib demilitarized zone

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan have agreed to forge a demilitarized zone between rebels and Syrian government forces in Syria’s Idlib region.

Russian President Putin meets with his Turkish counterpart Erdogan (Reuters/A. Zemlianichenko)

The presidents of Turkey and Russia agreed on Monday to declare Syria’s Idlib province as a “demilitarized zone,” with the aim of halting the Syrian government’s assault on the rebel-held region.

The agreement marks a major diplomatic victory for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was eager to prevent a major Syrian government assault, backed by Russian air power, on thelast remaining rebel stronghold in Syria.

What’s in the Idlib deal?

As part of the Russia-Turkey agreement:

  • Both forces will establish a 15 to 20 kilometer (9 to 12.5 mile) wide demilitarized zone around the Idlib province by October 15
  • Radical rebel groups, such as the Al-Nusra Front, will be ordered to leave the region
  • Rebel forces must give up their heavy arms, including tanks and rockets
  • Both Turkish and Russian military troops will patrol the region

Watch video02:07

Germany urges Russia to prevent disaster in Idlib

‘A serious result’

Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed Monday’s deal as a “serious result,” adding that “Russia and Turkey have confirmed their determination to counter terrorism in Syria in all its forms.”

Putin also said he believed the agreement would also go some way in ending Syria’s bloody seven-year civil war. “It is our common belief that the practical realization of the planned steps will provide an additional impulse for the process of a political settlement of the Syrian conflict,” he said.

Erdogan said the Idlib buffer zone was crucial to preventing a “big humanitarian crisis.”

The Turkish president added: “Our solidarity on regional issues will give hope to the region. At the moment, I believe, not only our region but also the world is looking at Sochi today.”..

Read more: What is Iran’s role in Syria if Assad wins the war?

Watch video26:00

Battle for Idlib: Endgame in Syria?

Syria still determined to wipe out Al-Nusra Front: A key part of the deal appeared to be Turkey agreeing to order the evacuation of Al-Nusra Front forces from Idlib. Earlier on Monday, the Damascus’ ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva indicated that the government would continue its onslaught against the group, which it views as a terrorist organization. However, it remained unclear how the Assad regime would deal with rebel fighters remaining in Idlib.


By Lorlornyofm September 17, 2018 18:30
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