The moderate opposition officials praised a deal between Russia and Turkey over the Idlib province yesterday, saying it had spared the opposition-held region a bloody regime offensive and would thwart Bashar Assad's aim of recovering all Syria.
"The Idlib deal preserves lives of civilians and their direct targeting by the regime. It buries Assad's dreams of imposing his full control over Syria," Mustafa Sejari, a Free Syria Army (FSA) official, told Reuters.
"This area will remain in the hands of the Free Syrian Army and will force the regime and its supporters to start a serious political process that will lead to a real transition that ends Assad's rule,"Sejari said. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan agreed at a summit on Monday to create a demilitarized zone in Idlib from which terrorists must withdraw by Oct. 15.
The agreement has diminished prospects of a Syrian regime offensive which the United Nations warned would create a humanitarian catastrophe in the Idlib region, home to about three and a half million people.The spokesman for the opposition Syrian Negotiations Commission said the deal had halted an offensive for which government forces had been mobilizing in recent weeks, calling it a "victory for the will for life over the will for death." The "scenario of attack is practically excluded, at least for a period of time that is not small, and we hope that it will be permanent," Yahya al-Aridi told Reuters by telephone.
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