Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have announced a military ceasefire in Idlib, after a meeting in Moscow that lasted six hours.
Idlib, the last rebel stronghold in Syria, has witnessed increased violence and bloodshed since last December, the start of a Russia-backed Syrian offensive to regain control over the region.
“At 00.01 tonight, as in, from midnight, the ceasefire will be put in place,” Erdogan told reporters on Thursday in the Russian capital.
Erdogan added that Turkey, which has sent thousands of troops into Idlib to repel the Syrian army, would not “remain silent” if Syrian government forces continued attacks and warned that Ankara would retaliate with full force.
Putin said Russia did not always agree with its Turkish partners but hoped the deal will serve as a “good basis for ending the fighting in the Idlib de-escalation zone, put an end to [the] suffering of [the] civilian population and contain a growing humanitarian crisis.”
Even as the ceasefire came into effect, Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu news agency reported early on Friday that Turkish forces killed 21 Syrian troops and destroyed two artillery pieces and two missile launchers, in retaliation of the killing of two Turkish soldiers in Idlib earlier on Thursday.