Russia and Turkey have agreed to create a demilitarised zone between the Syrian army and armed rebel groups around Idlib, where an assault from the Syrian government forces had been expected for more than a week.
Russia and Turkey will “create a demilitarised zone some 15 to 20 kilometres deep along the line of contact between the armed opposition and regime troops by October 15 of this year” around Syria’s Idlib’s region, Russian President Vladmir Putin announced beside Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a joint press conference in the Russian city of Sochi on Monday.
All heavy weapons will have to be withdrawn from that zone by October 10, Putin added.
Both Russia and Turkey will carry out coordinated patrols on the borders of the demilitarised zone, he said.
On Monday, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported that Russian Defence Minister
Sergei Shoigu had announced that the agreement meant no new military operation against Syria’s Idlib by Syrian government forces will be held.
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Idlib is the last bastion of Syria’s rebels and concern has been high that a government assault on the city and its surroundings would be catastrophic for civilians.