Qatar hails Turkey-Russia deal to 'demilitarize' Idlib

By Ahmed Yusuf

DOHA (AA) – Qatar on Tuesday welcomed a Turkish-Russian agreement to establish a demilitarized zone in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province.

According to a Tuesday statement released by Qatar’s Foreign Ministry, the agreement will prevent the death of civilians and avert a feared humanitarian crisis.

The ministry also voiced its support for continued efforts to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria based on the 2012 Geneva 1 Declaration and relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Following a meeting in Sochi between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the two countries agreed on Monday to establish a demilitarized zone in Idlib, Syria’s last opposition stronghold.

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.

According to the MoU, 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.

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