By Fatih Hafız Mehmet
ANKARA (AA) – The Syrian opposition and other anti-regime groups have completed the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the demilitarized zone in Syria's Idlib, Turkish Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.
In a written, the ministry said Turkey has realized its responsibilities as a guarantor country of the recently signed Sochi agreement.
"Our activities in Idlib as part of the agreement are continuing without slowing down in order to secure sustainable and permanent peace," the statement added.
Last month, following a meeting in Sochi between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the two countries agreed to establish the Idlib demilitarized zone.
Ankara and Moscow also signed a memorandum of understanding calling for the “stabilization” of Idlib's de-escalation zone, in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
Under the deal, opposition groups in Idlib will remain in areas in which they are already present, while Russia and Turkey will conduct joint patrols in the area with a view to preventing renewed fighting.
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.