Map of Syria: iStock
Map of Syria: iStock

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday said that a Russia-Turkey deal for the last major insurgent stronghold of Idlib was a “temporary measure,” state news agency SANA reported.

“The agreement is a temporary measure through which the state has realized many achievements on the ground starting with stemming the bloodshed,” SANA quoted Assad as saying at a meeting of the central committee of his Baath party.

The agreement reached on September 17 between regime ally Moscow and insurgent backer Ankara aims to avert a major government attack on Idlib province and adjacent areas, by establishing a 15- to 20-kilometer buffer zone surrounding Syria’s last major insurgent bastion.

“This province and other Syrian territory still under terrorist control will return to the Syrian state,” SANA quoted Assad as saying.

Assad’s regime has retaken large parts of the country from opposition fighters and jihadists since Russia intervened militarily in 2015.