Monday’s surprise Turkey-Russia deal on Syria’s Idlib Province, which aims to stop a military invasion of rebel-held territory in return for a demilitarized zone, and rebels withdrawing from that entire area, has a very fast time-frame, with officials hoping to have it in place by mid-October.
Russia and Turkey are on board, and Syria seems okay with the deal, but there has yet to be any comment out of al-Qaeda or the other Islamist factions in the area. This could quickly derail any such deal if they refuse to go along with it.
The buffer zone is to by 15-25 km, with all heavy weapons withdrawn from the area, and Turkish and Russian forces policing the area. Though the exact location of the zone is not fully defined, it is believed to cut substantially through al-Qaeda’s territory.
Turkey is sending more troops into this area, preparing to try to enforce the buffer zone. Syria’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the news, but vowed to continue to fight until the whole country is back under government control.