The Russian and Turkish leaders have held a press conference in Moscow, after coming to an agreement to de-escalate the Syrian-Turkish conflict in the war-torn Idlib province.
The press statement followed hours-long talks in Moscow between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
During the talks, Putin and Erdogan agreed a document detailing a ceasefire in Idlib, starting from midnight on March 6.
A six-kilometer-wide security corridor is to be established in the area, with the militaries of the two countries given a week to agree all the details.
Russian and Turkish troops will also be carrying out joint patrol missions along Idlib’s M-4 highway.
The document, signed after the negotiations, underlined that both Moscow and Ankara remained committed to maintaining the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria.
Both leaders acknowledged that the conflict in the country has no military solution and that it was up to the Syrians alone to decide the fate of their country. It was also agreed to facilitate efforts to prevent the humanitarian crisis in Idlib, while also creating conditions for the refugees to return to their homes.
Erdogan agreed to come to Russia’s capital after a string of violent confrontations between Turkish and Syrian forces in the northwest region of the war-torn nation. The Turkish president had told the media that he hoped the one-day summit would result in a ceasefire in Idlib, which both Damascus and Moscow view as the last terrorist stronghold in Syria.
Turkey has sent thousands of troops, tanks and drones into Idlib as part of “Operation Spring Shield.” Moscow has been highly critical of the move, accusing Ankara of shielding Al-Qaeda affiliated forces in the region. Turkey pledged in a 2018 agreement with Russia that it would separate terrorist elements from the so-called “moderate rebels” occupying Idlib — a commitment which Moscow says has not been honored.