Syria: Russian army announces Idlib ceasefire

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Last month more than 280,000 people were forced to flee a regime assault on the rebel-held province

Jan 10, 2020

January 10, 2020

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The Russian army on Thursday announced that a ceasefire has begun in Syria's Idlib province, the last major opposition stronghold in the country, in accordance with a Russia-Turkey agreement.

From 1100 GMT "a ceasefire has been in place in the de-escalation zone of Idlib," the Russian military's Centre for Reconciliation in Syria said in a statement.

Despite a ceasefire announced in August 2019, the Syrian regime, backed by Moscow, has in recent weeks ramped up its attacks on the rebel-held bastion of Idlib, in north-west Syria, provoking a surge of displaced people heading towards Turkey.

In December alone some 284,000 people fled the bombardments and fighting, especially in southern Idlib, according to the United Nations.

Thursday's announcement came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks in Istanbul with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The leaders used a joint statement to call for a truce "supported by the necessary measures to be taken for stabilising the situation on the ground" in Libya.

On Tuesday Turkey had called for Russia to stop the regime attacks on Idlib and respect the August ceasefire.

Fighting has killed more than 380,000 people in Syria and displaced millions since war began in 2011.

Russia launched a military intervention in support of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's regime in 2015, helping his forces to reclaim large parts of the country from opposition fighters and extremists.

Updated: January 10, 2020 03:00 AM

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