Turkey, Russia agree on cease-fire in Idlib, Syria

6th Mar 2020
Turkey, Russia agree on cease-fire in Idlib, Syria

By Jeyhun Aliyev and Sena Guler

 

(AA): Turkey and Russia on Thursday agreed on a cease-fire in Syria’s Idlib de-escalation zone.

Following the joint news conference of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov announced the additional protocol to the memorandum on stabilization of the situation in Idlib.

The protocol urged to “cease all military actions along the line of contact in the Idlib de-escalation area starting from 00:01 of March 6, 2020.”

The conference came after bilateral talks and the meeting of delegations that lasted over six hours in the Kremlin.

“First of all we will realize the cease-fire as soon as possible, then we will take other the steps rapidly which we will decide together,” Erdogan said, but stressed that Turkey reserves its right to response to any attack by Syrian regime during the process.

“Our aim is to prevent the worsening of the humanitarian crisis in the region,” Erdogan said.

Speaking in a joint press conference, Erdoğan said the “Syrian regime and its aggressiveness are the main reasons behind civilian suffering in Idlib”.

“Considering all the recent developments, a new status quo is inevitable in Idlib,” he added.

“We have deployed additional military units to Syria to ensure regional stability. Our priority is to enable de-escalation in Idlib. The cease-fire in Idlib will begin tonight a minute after midnight,” he also said.

Putin, for his part, said the sit-down ended with a “positive result” as it managed to find a solution in northwestern Syria that was acceptable to both sides.

“Our close personal contact allows us to quickly resolve various issues of bilateral cooperation and develop common approaches to resolve key international problems.

“We do not always agree with our Turkish partners in their assessments of what is happening in Syria. But every time at critical moments, based on the high level of bilateral relations that we have achieved, we have so far managed to find common ground on the controversial issues that have arisen, and reach acceptable solutions. So it happened this time,” Putin said.

Since the beginning of the year, a Russian military base, Hmeimim, in Syria, has been attacked 15 times by the groups in the Idlib de-escalation zone, he said.

“Today, we confirmed the interest of our countries in continuing to work together in the framework of the Astana format. It is the Astana process that has recently given a serious impetus in the context of the Syrian settlement,” he said.

Putin thanked the Russian and Turkish delegations, saying they worked hard to prepare for the meeting.

“Our meeting today was preceded by hard work, several rounds of intensive consultations between interagency delegations with an emphasis on the crisis situation in the Idlib zone.

“I would like to thank Mr. President for coming to Moscow today and confirming the level of our relations. I would like to thank all our Turkish colleagues for their hard, difficult, but constructive work, which ended, in my opinion, with a positive result,” he said.

Putin expressed hope that the agreement would end hostilities in the Idlib de-escalation zone and prevent a humanitarian crisis.

“I hope that these agreements will serve as a good basis to stop hostilities in the Idlib de-escalation zone, put an end to the suffering of the civilian population, the growing humanitarian crisis, and create conditions for the continuation of the peace process in the Syrian Arab Republic between all the conflicting parties,” he said.

On the protocol, Turkey and Russia, as guarantor countries to observe the cease-fire in Syria, recalled the memorandum on the creation of de‑escalation areas in Syria as of May 4, 2017 and the memorandum on stabilization of the situation in the Idlib de-escalation area as of Sept. 17, 2018.

The two countries reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Syria.

They also “reaffirmed their determination to combat all forms of terrorism, and to eliminate all terrorist groups in Syria as designated by the UN Security Council, while agreeing that targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure cannot be justified under any pretext.”

The protocol highlighted that there can be “no military solution to the Syrian conflict and that it can only be resolved through Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, UN facilitated political process in line with the UNSC resolution 2254.”

It also added that both sides “stressed the importance of prevention of further deterioration of humanitarian situation, protection of civilians and ensuring humanitarian assistance to all Syrians in need without preconditions and discrimination as well as prevention of displacement of people and facilitation of safe and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their original places of residence in Syria.”

A security corridor will be established 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) deep to the north and to the south from the M4 highway, according to the protocol.

“The specific parameters of the functioning of the security corridor will be agreed between the defense ministries of Turkey and Russia within seven days,” it noted.

Joint Turkish-Russian patrols will begin on March 15 along the M4 highway from the settlement of Trumba — 2 km (1.2 mi) to the west of Saraqib — to the settlement of Ain-Al-Havr, the protocol also said.

[Photo:  President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) during a joint press conference with President of Russia Vladimir Putin (R) following an inter-delegation meeting at Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Russia on March 5, 2020. Photographer: Sefa Karacan/AA]

Leave a Comment

What is 15 + 4 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)

Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

Latest Tweets