13:41 GMT28 January 2020
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    Russia and Turkey will set up a 9-12 mile demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib province along the contact line of the armed opposition and government forces by October 15 in an effort to avoid large-scale civilian casualties and prevent refugees from pouring into Turkey.

    In an interview with Sputnik, journalist Taymur Dvidar welcomed the decision.

    ”Thank God that the parties came to such an understanding of how to deal with this problem, namely to seek a negotiated solution with only limited use of military force,” he said.

    He added that the creation of a 20 kilometer (12 mile) demilitarized zone will make it possible to separate the warring sides, namely government forces, the armed opposition and its allies.

    “20 kilometers is enough to keep them apart so that they do not tease each other and do not interfere with the hard job of flushing out the terrorist groups in Idlib,” Dvidar noted.

    He said that Russia would not benefit from a military showdown in Idlib, where there are an estimated 100,000 armed men concentrated, around 10,000 of whom are members of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group, which dominates all the other groups active in the province.

    “I see no reason for getting into such a mess and this is what Russia and Turkey realize full well. This is how we could save the lives of the three million people being held hostage in Idlib,” Taymur Dvidar argued.

    “I do not see any differences between Russia and Turkey here. Both face a common task: the elimination of the terrorist threat, even physical destruction. They also agree to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2254 on establishing a working government, adopting a constitution and holding elections under the supervision of the United Nations.”

    The expert believes that Moscow and Ankara will have to use their sway over Damascus and the opposition so that they comply with UN Security Council Resolution 2254, within the framework of the reconciliation of the conflicting sides.

    “Moscow will have to consult with Damascus. I do not think that Damascus will have any objections, since one of its main allies, Iran, agrees with the decision on Idlib,” Dvidar said.

    Speaking about the Kurdish YPG forces in Syria, he said that Turkey was determined to destroy them altogether.

    “[Kurds] are clearly trying to secure as many rights as possible within the autonomy framework, but Turkey's position is quite tough. The problem will be resolved after, or during, the implementation of resolution 2254, that is, with the formation of an interim government in Syria,” Taymur Dvidar said.

    On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in the Russian resort city of Sochi and signed an agreement on setting up a demilitarized zone in Idlib along the contact line of the armed opposition and government forces by October 15.

    READ MORE: Lavrov: Russia-Turkey Deal on Idlib Just Interim Step

    The agreement stipulates that all heavy weaponry operated by rebel groups must be pulled out of the demilitarized zone by October 10.

    The Syrian government has regained control over vast territories of the country, which used to be occupied by terrorists, and is now focused on creating favorable conditions for repatriating refugees, restoring infrastructure and eliminating the insurgents that are still active in the Idlib de-escalation zone.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


    Turkey Could Deploy Additional Troops to Idlib Under Deal With Russia - Ankara
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    analyst, agreement, demilitarization zone, Idlib, Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), UN Security Council (UNSC), Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Vladimir Putin, Taymur Dvidar, Syria
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