Russia: Idlib agreement with Turkey not yet successfully implemented

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A Syrian rebel-fighter from the National Liberation Front (NLF) walks in a street in the rebel-held al-Rashidin district of western Aleppo's countryside near Idlib province, on October 15, 2018. - Jihadists in Syria's Idlib failed to meet a deadline to leave a planned buffer zone ringing the country's last rebel bastion, casting fresh doubt over a deal to avert bloodshed. (Photo by Aaref WATAD / AFP)

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Thursday the process of separating radical militants from moderate opposition groups in the demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib region had not yet been successfully achieved, Reuters reported.

Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the process, which was launched as part of a deal between Turkey and Russia in September, had not been successful despite efforts by Ankara.

The official deadline for disarmament of the rebel groups in Idlib was Oct. 15.

Initially Moscow was optimistic about Turkey’s efforts to convince the rebel groups, although the deadline has passed.

The Russian-backed Syrian army this summer had been planning a full-scale military offensive in the rebel-held Idlib, home to about 3 million people.

The United Nations had warned such an attack would create a humanitarian catastrophe in the region.

The armed rebel groups reportedly were hesitant to fully comply with the agreement due to the lack of trust for the Russian and Syrian armies.

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