What does Russia want in northwest Syria? | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


What does Russia want in northwest Syria?

Although it is currently in Russia's interest to de-escalate tensions in Idlib, an attack is still likely.

After months of heightened tensions in the Syrian province of Idlib, the last stronghold of the Syrian opposition, Russia and Turkey seem to have reached a temporary solution.

Following a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on September 17 in Sochi, the two countries agreed to create a demilitarised zone 15-20km into opposition-control territories along the de-facto front line by October 15.

All "radical fighters" are to withdraw from the area and all "heavy weapons, tanks, rocket launchers, guns and mortars" are to be removed. Russian military police and Turkish troops will be patrolling the zone to ensure that all armed groups abide by the agreement. Erdogan and Putin also agreed to open the M4 and M5 highways linking respectively Latakia and Damascus to Aleppo to traffic from regime-held areas by the end of the year.

Of course, this temporary truce is far from ideal and does not include a roadmap for normalisation of the situation in the province, but it is still better than all the other, more violent, options.

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