U.S. Envoy Says Turkish-Russian Idlib Deal Froze 7-Year Syrian War

Published October 18th, 2018 - 12:11 GMT
Syria's bitter civil war has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people since the start of the conflict in March 2011 (AFP Photo/Mohammed Eyad)
Syria's bitter civil war has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people since the start of the conflict in March 2011 (AFP Photo/Mohammed Eyad)

A Russian-Turkish deal for a buffer zone around Syria's last opposition stronghold was a "major step" that has "frozen" the country's devastating seven-year war, a US envoy said Wednesday.

James Jeffrey, Washington's special representative on Syria, spoke a day after regime ally Russia and opposition backer Turkey said their agreement creating a demilitarized zone skirting Idlib province was on course despite militants missing a Monday deadline to withdraw.

The deal "is a major step because what it's done is it has frozen the conflict not only there, but the conflict is also frozen essentially everywhere else," Jeffrey told journalists in the Turkish capital Ankara.

The agreement, reached last month, was seen as forestalling a devastating regime assault on the area, which hosts around three million people.

It gave opposition and militant fighters until October 10 to clear the buffer zone of any heavy weapons.

Jeffrey said Wednesday that "by and large the Russians seem to be willing to continue this".

Jeffrey said US officials and their Turkish counterparts were now discussing "revitalizing the political process now that you have essentially a de facto, or at least temporary ceasefire throughout the country" apart from minor battles and a US-led campaign against ISIS holdouts.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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