Civilians will continue to remain in Syria's northwestern Idlib province following a deal signed by Ankara and Moscow that seals a demilitarized zone in the area, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday.
"The borders of Idlib will be protected under the memorandum of understanding signed in Sochi. There would be no change in the status of Idlib," Cavusoglu said at the quadruple ministerial meeting in the capital Ankara.
Cavusoglu's remarks came a day after Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a demilitarized zone between the opposition and the regime-controlled areas after a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his counterpart Vladimir Putin in Russia's coastal city of Sochi.
Ankara and Moscow on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding calling for the stabilization of the situation in Idlib's de-escalation zone.
Cavusoglu said heavy weapons will be removed from demilitarized zone in Idlib, adding: "Civilians will stay, only terrorist groups will be removed."
He added heavy weapons will be removed from demilitarized zone in Idlib by Oct. 15.
Cavusoglu added the region would be cleared off from "radicals" and cease-fire would be ensured.
He added Russia will take necessary measures to protect de-escalation zone in Idlib.
The minister also said two main highways in Syria will be re-opened for traffic by the end of 2018.