Sochi Agreement on Idlib Tests Russian-Turkish Relations

On September 17, 2018 at talks in Sochi, Russia and Turkey agreed to establish a demilitarized zone separating the Syrian regime from the armed opposition and jihadist groups in Idlib province in northwestern Syria. The Sochi Agreement was to go into effect on October 15, and by October 10, the two countries formally announced the establishment of a zone that stretches from the northern mountains of Latakia through the countryside of Hama and Idlib to the outskirts of Aleppo. The coming weeks are crucial for the agreement, which may have prevented an international crisis and a Russia-led offensive on the province. Furthermore, the full implementation of the agreement will put Russian-Turkish relations to the test since both are struggling to maintain order in and around the zone, where irregularities may doom the arrangement. Click here to read my latest policy analysis.