Russian military delegation to visit Turkey for Idlib ceasefire talks
An aerial view shows destruction in the village of Kansafra in al-Zawiya Mountain region of Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, on March 8, 2020. (AFP Photo)
Turkish and Russian military delegations will launch talks on March 10 in Ankara on the specific parameters of the functioning of the security corridor 6 kilometers deep to the north and 6 km deep to the south from the M4 highway in Idlib.
“The meeting, which will be held with the Russian Military Committee within the framework of the agreement reached in Moscow on March 5, 2020, will start on Tuesday, March 10 in Ankara,” the ministry said in a tweet.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to a new cease-fire for Idlib effective as of midnight on March 5. The meeting was the third face-to-face meeting between Erdoğan and Putin since early January to find a lasting cease-fire in Syria’s Idlib province where regime forces backed by Russia have intensified military operations.
Under the agreement, all military activities are to end in Idlib with the establishment of a security corridor 6 km to the north and south of the key M4 highway.
Joint Turkish-Russian patrols will also begin on March 15 along the M4 highway from the settlement of Trumba — 2 km to the west of Saraqib — to the settlement of Ain al-Hawr, according to the deal.
Turkey launched Operation Spring Shield on Feb. 27 after at least 34 Turkish soldiers were killed last month in an Assad regime airstrike in Idlib province and after repeated violations of previous cease-fires.
Under a 2018 deal with Russia, Turkish troops were in Idlib to protect civilians from attacks by the regime and its allies.
In the meantime, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency reported on March 9 that the Syrian army violated the cease-fire declared in Idlib.
According to the agency, the Syrian army violated the agreement 15 times after the cease-fire came into force on 6 March, morning. It stated that the regime elements used more than 50 rounds in these violations.
The Syrian army reportedly opened a harassment fire with a machine gun to the Turkish military supply convoy despite the necessary coordination. It was determined that the elements of the regime fired three mortar shells near another unit, reported the agency.