Moscow: The Russian army announced Thursday that a ceasefire has begun in Syria's Idlib, the last major opposition stronghold in the country, in accordance with a Russ-a-Turkey agreement. From 1100 GMT "a ceasefire has been in place in the de-escalation zone of Idlib," the Russian military's Centre for Reconciliation in Syria said in a statement.
Despite a ceasefire announced in August 2019, the Syrian regime backed by Moscow has in recent weeks ramped up its attacks on the jihadist-held bastion of Idlib, in northwest Syria against rebels backed by Ankara, provoking a surge of displaced people heading towards Turkey. In December alone some 284,000 people fled the bombardments and fighting, especially in southern Idlib, according to the United Nations.
Thursday's announcement came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks in Istanbul with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The leaders used a joint statement to call for a truce "supported by the necessary measures to be taken for stabilising the situation on the ground" in Libya.
On Tuesday Turkey had called for Russia to stop the regime attacks on Idlib and respect the August ceasefire.
Syria's war has killed more than 380,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011. Russia launched a military intervention in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime in 2015, helping his forces to reclaim large parts of the country from opposition fighters and jihadists.