Tactical Talk (Update) The deal between Turkey and Russia on Idlib has multiple consequences. It perfectly avoided – for now – an imminent military offensive by the Syrian army into the northwestern province of Syria, home to nearly three million people as well as armed moderate opposition groups and jihadist terrorist organizations.
Heavily backed by Russia and Iran both politically and militarily, the Syrian regime has long been willing to wipe out the opposition groups and the terrorists from the last rebel bastion in western Syria before efforts for a political settlement could be intensified under the U.N. mandate.
The second important result of the Idlib deal is the creation of a demilitarized zone 15 to 20 kilometers deep between the opposition groups as well as jihadist groups and the Syrian regime’s army. Thirdly, it stipulates that all radical groups will be removed from the zone by Oct. 15 and that the opposition will lay down all their heavy weapons by Oct. 10.
One other result of this agreement is that it brought for the first time a deadline to the questions stemming from the presence of jihadist groups in the enclave while employing Turkey with the task of convincing all these groups to leave the demilitarized zone within a few weeks.