Publicado: Mar, Setiembre 18, 2018
Global | Por Milagro Delgado

Russian Federation and Turkey to create demilitarised zone around Idlib

Russian Federation and Turkey to create demilitarised zone around Idlib

Russia and Turkey have agreed to create a "demilitarised zone" around Syria's rebel-held province of Idlib, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after lengthy talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Before the memorandum was signed by the Russian and Turkish defense ministries, Russian President Putin stated that he agreed with Turkish leader Erdogan to set up a 15-20 kilometers (9.3-12.4 miles) demilitarized zone along the contact line between Syrian government troops and the armed opposition by October 15.

Erdogan was speaking to reporters before the two men met in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. The zone will go into effect in mid-October, Putin said.

Putin said the demilitarized zone would be enforced by patrols of Turkish forces and Russian military police. The Russian defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, said after the deal was announced that there would be no military operation in Idlib.

"Russia will surely take necessary precautions to ensure the Idlib de-escalation zone is not attacked".

"We've focused on the situation in the province of Idlib, considering presence of large militant groups and their infrastructure there", Putin said at a press conference after the talks.

Despite coming under nearly non-stop bombardment for several years, the area is still home to some 3 million Syrians, around 60,000 of whom are believed to be rebel fighters.

The volatile region is also home to an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 members of armed groups that Russia, Turkey and the United States consider terrorists.

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While the Russian army is in Syria by the call of the Syrian regime, we have been called by the people of Syria, the president of Turkey said.

Washington has accused the Syrian government of attacking civilians with chemical weapons in previous operations, including in Douma near the capital Damascus and in Khan Shaykhun in Idlib.

The agreement puts HTS in a dilemma as it would face pressure from Turkey and its rebel allies if it resists, while complying would "spark an internal crisis threatening the continuity of the group", Mr Lister said, calling it a "smart move" by Ankara and a patient one by Moscow. "In return, we will ensure that the radical groups, which we will determine with Russian Federation, will not operate in the area under discussion", he said.

The agreement is created to prevent a new "humanitarian crisis" in Syria, Erdogan stressed, and will help Turkey to avoid an even more "difficult situation".

Jihadist groups, including those of al-Nusra Front, Putin said, would have to leave the zone. He had previously warned of a surge in refugees hitting the country should a full-blown war break out in Idlib.

Syrian rebel fighters prepare for an upcoming government forces offensive, in the countryside of the rebel-held northern Idlib province on September 3, 2018.

Numerous 3 million in Idlib have already been displaced from other parts of Syria following the collapse of the opposition resistance in cities such as Aleppo.

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