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Assad says confident Idlib will be back under government control

Syrian President described the agreement as a temporary measure
Syrian President Bashar Assad Michael Klimentiev/TASS
Syrian President Bashar Assad
© Michael Klimentiev/TASS

TASS, October 7. The Russian-Turkish agreement on Syria’s Idlib will help Damascus regain control of that region, SANA news agency said on Sunday citing Syrian President Bashar Assad as saying at a plenary session of the Arab Socialist Baath Party.

He said that the agreement on Idlib is beneficial for Syria in many aspects but the most important of them is that it will help "avoid bloodshed." He described the agreement as a temporary measure.

The September 17 talks between the Russian and Turkish Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Russia’s Sochi yielded and agreement to establish a demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib, along the contact line between government troops and the opposition by October 15. At Ankara’s initiative, it is planned to withdraw the opposition’s tanks, multiple missile launcher systems, artillery systems and mortars from this zone by October 10. Control in this zone will be exercised by mobile patrol groups of Turkish troops and unites of Russian military police.

Idlib is the only large region in Syria that is still controlled by illegal armed groups. In 2017, a northern de-escalation zone was established in Idlib to give shelter to militants and their families who are reluctant to voluntarily surrender arms.

According to United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, about 10,000 Jabhat al-Nusra and al-Qaeda (both outlawed in Russia) militants are currently staying in the region. When Damascus finally regains control of the governorate, it will put an end to the large-scale armed confrontation in Syria.