Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan have agreed to a ceasefire for Syria’s north-western Idlib region, to take effect at midnight.
Turkey has troops stationed near Idlib in an effort to support rebel forces and to promote its own military interests against the Kurds, while Moscow has long backed the Syrian regime’s military.
Putin said that he hoped the deal would reduce the civilian suffering in the city, which has forced thousands more refugees to flee the destruction.
The two countries also announced joint patrols along the M4 highway outside of the city.
Until recently, Moscow and Ankara had managed to largely avoid conflict despite having different interests in Syria. However, a renewed Syrian offensive carried out with Russian support to regain control of Idlib, the last opposition stronghold in Syria, saw Turkey respond by sending thousands of troops into the area around Idlib to repel the attack. Dozens have been killed on both sides of the battle.
The conflict has also created tensions between Turkey and the European Union. Erdogan has walked back his obligations to a 2016 refugee deal with the bloc,opening his country’s borders with Greece and Bulgaria in an attempt to force EU support for Turkey’s miltary intervention in Syria.
es/msh (AP,AFP, dpa)