Turkish, Russian defense ministers discuss Idlib
Regional security issues amid Sept. 17 Sochi agreement discussed by two ministers over phone call
By Ahmet Salih Alacaci
Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar discussed regional security issues with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu in a phone call on Wednesday.
The latest developments in Syria’s northeastern province of Idlib were discussed in the context of the Sochi agreement, according to a statement released by the Turkish Defense Ministry.
Following a meeting on Sept. 17, 2018 in the Russian city of Sochi between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the two sides agreed to set up a demilitarized zone -- in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited -- in Syria’s Idlib province.
According to the terms of the deal, opposition groups in Idlib will remain in areas in which they are already present while Russia and Turkey will conduct joint patrols in the area with a view to preventing a resumption of fighting.
On Oct. 10, the Turkish Defense Ministry announced that the Syrian opposition and other anti-regime groups had completed the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the demilitarized zone.
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.