Deadline passes for Syria’s Idlib buffer without fighters leaving

In Syria, a deadline passed today without jihadists leaving a planned buffer zone around last major rebel bastion of Idlib as set out under a Russian-Turkish deal.
The radical fighters were supposed to withdraw from the buffer as a final condition to implementing a Russian-Turkish deal to stave off a regime offensive on the northwestern region of Idlib.
The accord hung in the balance on the early hours of today, seven years into a grinding civil war that has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions.
Just hours before the cut-off time, Idlib’s dominant jihadist group vowed to continue to fight but did not give a clear position on the deal reached in the Russia resort of Sochi.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had not observed any jihadists leaving the outlined demilitarised area by the time midnight struck.

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