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Turkey, Russia agree to establish demilitarized zone in Idlib

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands at a meeting in Sochi, Russia on Monday, September 17, 2018

Turkey and Russia agreed on Monday to establish a demilitarized zone in the area of Idlib, Syria to help prevent a humanitarian crisis and rid the area of terrorists.


At a news conference on Monday in Sochi, Russia, following a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the two countries will create a demilitarized zone of 15-20 km between the Syrian government troops and rebels in the area by October 15, "with the withdrawal from there of radically-minded rebels, including al-Nusra.”


“The demilitarized zone will be monitored by mobile patrol groups of Turkish units and units of Russian military police,” Putin added.


For his part, Erdogan stated, “The opposition will continue to remain in the areas where they are. In return, we will ensure that the radical groups, which we will determine with Russia, will not operate in the area under discussion.”


“With this agreement we have precluded experiencing a large humanitarian crisis in Idlib,” he added.


This agreement comes after Russia, which backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government, had originally planned an offensive on the city, which Turkey feared would increase the number of refugees fleeing to its borders. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated that the offensive would no longer take place.