Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Putin and Erdogan agree to create demilitarised zone in Syria's Idlib

from Middle East Eye

Russia said on Monday there will be no new military operation against rebels in Idlib by Syrian government forces and their allies after President Vladimir Putin met with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The two leaders, who back opposing sides in Syria’s seven-year war, came together in an ad hoc meeting in the Russian resort city of Sochi as tensions grew over Idlib, the last major opposition bastion in Syria.

The Syrian government, backed by Russian air power, appeared recently to be poised to stage an assault on Idlib province, which is also home to thousands of hardline militants.

Putin said Moscow and Ankara agreed to create a 15-20 km demilitarised zone between rebels and Syrian government forces by 15 October.

Russian and Turkish forces will patrol the buffer zone. "Radically-minded" groups, including former al-Qaeda affiliate Hay’at Tahrir a-Sham (HTS), will withdraw from the zone, and heavy weapons held by Syrian rebels in Idlib city would be handed over by 20 October, according to the agreement.
This approach, Putin said, is supported by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad...

[read more here]

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