What Happened: Turkey and Russia have announced an agreement to form a demilitarized buffer zone in Syria's Idlib province, the BBC reported Sept. 17. The agreement calls for a 15-25 kilometer (9-15 mile) buffer zone to be established by Oct. 15.
Why It Matters: The agreement defuses a growing crisis between Ankara and Moscow by preventing a major Russian-backed offensive from beginning in Idlib. However, significant obstacles remain that will ensure Idlib continues to be a major area of conflict.
Background: Russia is keen to weaken rebel forces in Idlib, but Turkey has consistently opposed a major offensive near its border.
- Here's What the New U.S. Strategy in Syria Means For Russia (Sept. 11, 2018)
- Russia Considers Its Next Moves in Syria (Aug. 21, 2018)
- Why Al Assad Is Starting New Talks With the Syrian Democratic Forces (July 27, 2018)