Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, April 3rd, 2020

Russia, Turkey Reach Cease-Fire Deal in Northwestern Syria

Russia, Turkey Reach Cease-Fire Deal in Northwestern Syria

MOSCOW - The presidents of Russia and Turkey said they reached agreement on a cease-fire to begin at midnight Thursday in northwestern Syria, where escalating fighting had threatened to put forces from the two countries into direct conflict.
The deal struck by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also would set up a security corridor along a key east-west highway in Idlib province.
Putin voiced hope the agreement will serve as a “good basis for ending the fighting in the Idlib de-escalation zone, put an end to suffering of civilian population and contain a growing humanitarian crisis.”
The agreement appears to achieve Russia’s key goal of allowing the Syrian government to secure control over strategic highways essential for consolidating its grip on the country after a devastating nine-year war.
But in a nod to Turkey’s interests, the deal also puts the brakes on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s push to reclaim control over all of Idlib province, the last opposition-controlled region that borders Turkey.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “takes note” of the cease-fire agreement and hopes it will lead “to an immediate and lasting cessation of hostilities that ensures the protection of civilians in northwest Syria, who have already endured enormous suffering,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Russian upper house’s foreign affairs committee, hailed the deal as a compromise that respected security interests of each country.
“The only alternative to the talks would be trying to sort out the differences on the battlefield, and neither side needs that,” he said on Facebook. (AP News)