Executive Intelligence Review


Russia and Turkey Arrange To Defuse Idlib Crisis

Sept. 17, 2018 (EIRNS)—Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to establish a demilitarized zone separating Syrian government troops from the “armed opposition” in Idlib and to peacefully resolve the potential for conflict there. They met in Sochi, Russia. After the two Presidents issued their statement on the agreement, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu issued his own statement, giving details on what Russia will be doing. There will be no military assault as such on Idlib, but cooperation on deployments with Turkish forces, by agreement with the Syrian government, reported TASS today.

Putin said that the plan is to establish a 15-20 km-wide demilitarized zone by Oct. 15 and to “evacuate radical militants, including Jabhat al-Nusra.” He reported that at Erdogan’s initiative, “heavy weapons, tanks, multiple missile launcher systems, artillery systems, and mortars of all opposition groups” will be removed by Oct. 10. The demilitarized zone will be controlled by mobile Turkish units and Russian military police.” Also, at Erdogan’s suggestion, they plan to “resume transit traffic along the Aleppo-Latakia and Aleppo-Hama highways by the end of the year.”

Putin said that the Syrian government supports this approach, but that consultations with Syrian authorities will commence soon.

The President explained,

“Russia and Turkey reiterated their commitment to continue anti-terrorism efforts in Syria in any of its forms.... We agreed that practical implementation of the steps we plan will give a fresh impetus to the process of political settlement of the Syrian conflict.”

In pursuit of this goal, he said,

“We’ll continue the efforts to form the constitution committee from among the members of Syrian leadership, opposition forces and civil society.... The task is to ensure the start of its work very shortly.”

Putin said that Russia and Turkey will continue using the Astana format consultations while “looking for long-term political solutions at the talks in Geneva under the UN umbrella.”