Turkey, Russia Agree on Security Corridor in Syria’s Idlib

Joint patrols to be operating along key highway

Aiming to prevent a new war in northern Syria, Russia and Turkey reached a deal on Thursday to resume a ceasefire in the Idlib Province. Turkey and Russia will jointly patrol a buffer zone along the M4 highway, and rebels are to evacuate from the area south of the highway.

Some specifics are to be worked out before the patrols begin on March 15, but any deal that ends with the highway remaining open would be a big win for Syria, and areas north of the highway in Idlib have long been considered low value.

It took Presidents Putin and Erdogan six hours to reach the deal. Turkey was keen to prevent fighting with Russia, and Russia wanted Turkey to stop attacking Syria. Erdogan insists Turkey remains the right to “retaliate with all its strength” against Syria though.

Still, Turkey is backing down from its war posture, likely because other NATO members are not up for a war with Russia over Idlib Province. Turkey does not appear confident in its ability to handle this whole fight by itself.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.