The deal between Russia and Turkey on a demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib is an interim step, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after talks with his counterpart from Bosnia and Herzegovina Igor Crnadak, TASS reports.
"This deal is aimed at eradicating a terrorist threat. No doubt, this is an interim step, as just a demilitarized zone is created," Lavrov stressed.
"But this is a necessary step as the creation of this zone will make it possible to prevent the continuing cases of shelling from the de-escalation zone in Syria’s Idlib Governorate on the positions of Syria’s governmental forces and Russia’s Hmeymim base," he noted.
By mid-October, all members of the Jabhat al-Nusra terror group, outlawed in Russia, should leave this demilitarized zone and all heavy weapons need to be pulled out from it, Lavrov noted.
Idlib is the only large Syrian region, which still remains under control of illegal armed groups. In 2017, a northern de-escalation zone was established in the region, where militants reluctant to lay down their arms and sign reconciliation deals with the authorities can move together with their families.
At their talks in Sochi on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to set up a demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib, along the contact line between the government troops and the opposition by October 15.
According to Ankara’s initiative, the opposition’s tanks, multiple missile launcher systems, artillery systems and mortars must be withdrawn from this zone by October 10. Control in this zone will be the responsibility of mobile patrol groups of Turkish troops and units of Russian military police.