Syria war: Russian Federation and Turkey to create buffer zone in Idlib

Syria war: Russian Federation and Turkey to create buffer zone in Idlib

Syria war: Russian Federation and Turkey to create buffer zone in 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.

Earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey stands for the political solution of the Syrian conflict and in particular, the crisis in Idlib.

"There are certain differences in approaches" between the leaders, he added.

Erdoğan on Monday was meeting Putin for the second time in just 10 days after Russian Federation and Iran expressed support for the idea of an offensive on Idlib.

Turkey, which is on the opposite side of the conflict from Russian Federation, had opposed an assault and has been in intense negotiations with the Kremlin after a summit between the two countries in Tehran ended without an agreement.

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Over the past week the Turkish military has reportedly reinforced its positions in Idlib and boosted support to the rebel factions it backs. Ankara hopes to return some of the 3.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey to these territories. There are tens of thousands of rebels in the region with reported ties to Turkey as well as an estimated 10,000 Jihadist fighters linked to al-Qaeda.

The country is already home to more than 3 million Syrians who have fled the war.

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.

Idlib is the last bastion of Syria's rebels and there have been protests in recent days by its residents over fears a government assault on the city would be catastrophic for civilians.

"Let's all take steps, measures together against the terror groups among the opposition in Idlib", Erdogan said.

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