Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan have agreed to a ceasefire in Idlib, the war torn area of Syria on the Turkish southern border. The agreement calls for fighting to cease tomorrow evening at midnight. Talks between the two leaders reportedly lasted six hours today in Moscow before an agreement was reached.
After more than six hours of talks in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed on the ceasefire to take effect from midnight on Friday, reported The Moscow Times.
The agreement will also create a security corridor along the key M4 highway in northern Syria, where Turkish and Russian forces will launch joint patrols from March 15.
Putin said the agreement would “serve as a good basis for ending fighting” in Idlib and for “stopping the suffering of the civilian population”.
“The object is to avoid the humanitarian crisis getting worse,” Erdogan said, though he added that Turkey reserved the right to “retaliate with all its strength against any attack” by Damascus.
For its part, Russian state news agency TASS reported the talks between the two leaders ‘were over’ and printed the statement below.
Russia, Turkey and Iran signed the memorandum, according to which the Idlib province became part of one of the four de-escalation zones in Syria, in May 2017. In September 2018, the Russian and Turkish presidents reached an agreement to set up a demilitarized zone in that province along the line of engagement of Syrian government forces and the armed opposition. Despite the agreements, extremists were not withdrawn from Idlib and continued to shell government forces’ positions. Since then, the situation in the region has deteriorated several times, including at the beginning of 2020.