Putin-Erdogan deal on Syria demilitarized zone heads off showdown, pending bloodbath

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that he had struck a deal with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to table a planned offensive against the Syrian rebel stronghold of Idlib, a last-minute agreement that led all sides of the 7-year-old conflict to breathe a sigh of relief despite a host of unanswered questions about whether the so-called demilitarized zone will hold.