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Russian Federation and Turkey have agreed a "demilitarized zone" between militants and government troops in Syria's Idlib, President Vladimir Putin said after hours-long talks with Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan focused on solving the crisis.

But after Monday's meeting between Mr Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the deal meant there would be no such operation in the region.

Russian Federation and Turkey have agreed to create a demilitarized zone in Syria's Idlib province, thwarting a large-scale military operation and impending humanitarian disaster in the country's last rebel stronghold.

The province of Idlib in northwestern Syria is the largest bastion of the opposition, and Turkey has been eager to prevent a potential regime offensive there.

Putin told a joint news conference with Erdogan: "We agreed that by October 15 (we will) create along the contact line between the armed opposition and government troops a demilitarized zone of a depth of 15-20 km, with the withdrawal from there of radically-minded rebels, including al-Nusra". Numerous current residents went there to flee the war in other parts of the country.

Ahmed Ramadan, a spokesman for the Syrian political opposition in exile, said the agreement offered Russian Federation a chance to walk back its threat against Idlib and represented a success for diplomatic pressure from Turkey and the United States, which was also against an offensive. Turkey however backs opposition fighters seeking the ouster of the Syrian leader.

Putin said he believed the agreement on Idlib could hasten final resolution of Syria's long and devastating civil war.

Armed groups in Idlib province - increasingly dominated by Islamist extremists - have since early August been arresting people who promote and pursue reconciliation and surrender agreements with the Syrian regime, according to statements from members of the opposition, the armed groups themselves and an Idlib-based activist who talked to CNN last week.

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This follows a deal reached between Russian Federation and Turkey to establish a new buffer zone in the area.

Terrorists in Syria control not only the Idlib governorate, Erdogan said.

For now, all civilians in Idlib can do is wait.

"We will remain ready for fighting", he said.

Ankara and Moscow signed a memorandum of understanding calling for the stabilization of the situation in Idlib's de-escalation zone, in which acts of aggression are prohibited.

"In order to give people in Idlib peace of mind then, this agreement needs to be built upon by the global powers working together to find a lasting political solution that protects civilians", Bramwell said.

Idlib and surrounding areas were quiet Monday, a continuation of the calm that started less than a week ago amid Russia-Turkey talks.


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