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Putin, Erdogan Agree To Establish Demilitarized Zone In Syria’s Idlib

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Putin, Erdogan Agree To Establish Demilitarized Zone In Syria's Idlib

AFP 2018 / Mohamed Haj Kadour

Russia and Turkey have agreed to establish a “demilitarized zone” between militants and government troops in the Syrian province of Idlib, President Vladimir Putin stated following a face-to-face meeting with Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan on September 17.

“We’ve focused on the situation in the province of Idlib, considering presence of large militant groups and their infrastructure there,” Putin stated following the talks. “We’ve agreed to create a demilitarized zone between the government troops and militants before October 15. The zone will be 15-20 km deep, with full withdrawal of hardline militants from there, including the Jabhat Al-Nusra [now known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham].”

Putin said that all heavy weaponry, including battle tanks and artillery, will be withdrawn from the zone before October 10. He further added that the zone will be patrolled by Turkish and Russian military units. He also revealed that the agreement has a “general” support from the Syrian government.

It’s expected that roads between Aleppo and Hama, and Aleppo and Latakia must be reopened for transit traffic before the end of the year.

According to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, the details will be agreed with the Syrian side in the upcoming hours.

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