MOSCOW, September 18. /TASS/. Work on a new security system in the Syrian Idlib de-escalation zone began on Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a ministry board meeting.
"Our Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Mr. Erdogan held talks yesterday as part of efforts to resolve the situation in the Syrian Idlib de-escalation zone. The talks also involved defense ministers, foreign ministers and general staff chiefs," he said. "Following long negotiations, the parties agreed on a decision, which makes it possible for us to say that the construction of a new security system in the Idlib de-escalation zone begins today," Shoigu added.
He pointed out that a memorandum on stabilizing the situation in Idlib, signed by Russia and Turkey, "implies that by October 10, heavy weapons must be withdrawn from the demilitarized zone, which will be 15 to 20 kilometers wide." "In addition, all the radical groups will have to leave the zone by October 15. That includes the ISIL [the former name of the Islamic State terror group - TASS], Jabhat al-Nusra [both outlawed in Russia - TASS] and those on the United Nations’ list of terrorist organizations," the Russian defense chief said.
Shoigu noted that much had been done to outline transport routes connecting Aleppo with Hama and Latakia. "Civilians both in Aleppo and the Idlib de-escalation zone should have access to this highway before the end of the year," he said.
The Russian defense minister added that the parties had also discussed a number of issues related to the activities within the demilitarized zone, where Russian military police and Turkish military units would be deployed.