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Erdogan, Putin announce Idlib ceasefire after Moscow meeting

By | Rachel Brooks

Staff | Telegraph Local 

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Above, Al Jazeera broadcast captures the moment Russia and Turkey shake hands over ceasefire agreements. 

Erdogan and Russia have reached an Idlib ceasefire in the wake of a recent Moscow meeting. Al Jazeera reported within the last few hours that the ceasefire came into effect after midnight on March 6 This was citing Erdogan. Al Jazeera quoted him directly as follows, 

“At 00.01 tonight, as in, from midnight, the ceasefire will be put in place.” 

 

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Erdogan was speaking with reporters at the scene of the Russian capital. 

However, Erdogan is making no promises to Syria if the Idlib rebel offensive does not refrain. Al Jazeera reported that Erdogan stated Turkey “will not remain silent” should Idlib strike out again. 

Putin stated that Russia does not always agree with its Turkish partners. He then made the following comments, as quoted by Al Jazeera, 

“(He hoped the deal would 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.”

The New York Times reported that the talks at the Kremlin in Moscow took place over a period of six hours. In the same article, The New York Times alleged that Putin is trying to protect his long-term goal of dividing NATO via its deal with Turkey. The New York Times cited this as the motive for inviting Recep Erdogan to the Kremlin. 

TRT World went into further detail regarding the offensive that sparked controversy between Russia and Turkey. The Syrian regime had ignored a deadline issued by Ankara to move behind Turkish military posts in Idlib. This gave way to Operation Spring Shield. This operation was against the Assad regime. The attack on February 27 was conducted by Russian-backed forces. It killed 35 Turkish soldiers. 

The deal to end hostilities in northwestern Syria also sees new security details put in place. It will include a 12-km or 7-mile wide security corridor along the M4 highway. This corridor will be a joint force patrolled by Russian and Turkish troops. It is set to go into effect on March 15. 

As events unfold, the U.S. gives credence to the Turkish right to defend itself from rebel forces. As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo voices, citing TRT World, 

We believe firmly that our NATO partner Turkey has the full right to defend itself against the risk that’s being created by what Assad, the Russians, and the Iranians are doing inside of Syria.” Pompeo made these comments to reporters at the State Department. 

Pompeo also said, as quoted by TRT World, 

 

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“Hundreds of thousands of Syrians from all faiths, but predominantly Muslim, are being harmed by what the Assad regime, the Russians and the Iranians are doing inside of Idlib. The Turkish government has asked us for a handful of things. We’re evaluating all of those requests.” 

Reuters reported that Russia reinforced Syria before the Putin and Erdogan talks. They were able to determine this from flight and shipping data. Russia was quoted as “racing” to refresh its troops in Syria before the talks were underway. 

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