On Saturday, Turkey rejected Russian accusations that it violated de-escalation agreements with Russia and Iran in Syria`s Idlib province and threatened to take military action in the region if diplomatic efforts with Moscow failed. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is standing alongside his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan, said he hoped their deal would lead to a halt to military action in Syria`s last major rebel stronghold in the northwest of the country. Moscow, for its part, said Turkey was violating the agreement by supporting “illegal armed groups” and accused Turkish forces of mingling with “terrorists” in Idlib. In Thursday`s deal with Erdogan in the Kremlin, Putin joined Turkish calls for a ceasefire, something the Syrian government and its Russian promoter had previously refused by going on an offensive to clear the last rebel pockets in Idlib. Unlike Syrian President Assad, who has vowed to recover “every inch of ground” from the rebels, Russia`s main focus is on protecting its military bases in Syria and avoiding a larger war. It also animated a controversial debate within Europe on refugees, following Turkey`s abandonment of an earlier agreement with the European Union to stem the flow of migrants into its territory. Greece, through which most Syrian refugees and economic refugees from other countries wish to enter Europe, has closed its eastern border with Turkey and refused to take in refugees. The agreement would effectively preserve some of the territorial gains made by Russian-backed Syrian forces during a three-month offensive in Idlib, the country`s last rebel stronghold, while keeping a Turkish foothold in the region. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “takes note” of the ceasefire agreement and hopes it will “lead to an immediate and lasting cessation of hostilities that will ensure the protection of civilians in northwestern Syria who have already suffered enormous suffering,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric. Erdogan probably wanted to stop Assad`s offensive in Idlib and keep territory under his de facto control as part of a 2018 deal brokered by Russia. Russia wants to restore a balance in the region, which probably reflects the territorial gains of the Syrian army, without rotting its relations with Turkey.
You said that the agreement was a ceasefire that would come into force at midnight in Idlib, the last stronghold of the Syrian rebels. The agreement also included joint patrols of Russian and Turkish troops from a seven-mile corridor along a highway through Idlib to the east of the Mediterranean coast towards the border with Iraq. The agreement, like a previous Idlib deal reached in September 2018 by Putin and Erdogan, is unlikely to end the war in Syria, which began nine years ago and killed up to 400,000 people, mostly civilians. It was also unclear whether Mr. Assad, who was not part of the agreement, would respect it. MOSCOW (AP) – The russian and Turkish presidents have agreed on a ceasefire that is due to begin at midnight Thursday in northwestern Syria, where escalating fighting threatened to bring troops from both countries into a direct conflict. At the start of the more than six-hour Kremlin talks, the two heads of state and government stressed the need for an agreement. One of the objectives was to prevent their bilateral relations and prosperous trade from harming. Meanwhile, Syria has insisted in recent days on the need to continue its offensive, a position that could complicate Syria`s relations with Moscow if Putin is to ensure that Thursday`s deal with Erdogan is imposed.