Syria’s foreign minister said on Monday that Syrian forces stand ready to fight jihadists around the northwestern region of Idlib if a Russian-Turkish deal is not implemented there the same day, in keeping with a critical deadline.

The deal for Idlib sets up a buffer zone running 15-20 km (9-13 miles) deep into rebel territory that must be evacuated of all heavy weapons and all jihadists by Monday.

Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said it was up to Russia now to judge whether the agreement, which staved off a government offensive on the last notable swathe of territory in insurgent hands after seven years of war, was being fulfilled.

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