Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced, on Thursday evening, that a ceasefire was reached in the Syrian province of Idlib, as of midnight on Thursday and Friday, while retaining the right to respond to the regime’s attacks.
This came in a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Moscow after a summit between the two leaders on Idlib.
President Erdogan said that the cease-fire in Idlib will come into effect from midnight on Thursday and Friday.
He stressed that “the Syrian regime, with its aggressiveness and targeting of regional stability, is primarily responsible for the developments that led to the disruption of the Idlib agreement.”
He stressed that “Turkey will retain the right to respond with full force if the Syrian regime launches any attacks.”
President Erdogan explained that the main goal of the Syrian regime is to empty Idlib from a segment of the population and put Turkey in an embarrassing position by displacing the population.
He added, stressing: “Certainly, Turkey will not stand idly before a threat like this.”
He pointed out that “the need to create a new situation has become inevitable due to the sad events caused by the regime’s attack on our soldiers in Idlib.”
He stressed that Turkey is determined to continue its initiatives in the region, including the Sochi Agreement, until the solution of the Syrian crisis on the basis of the territorial integrity and political unity of Syria.
He said: “We will achieve the cease-fire in Idlib in the shortest possible time and then together (with Russia) we will take other quick steps in this regard.”
And he showed that the spirit of cooperation with Russia made an unprecedented contribution to international efforts to end the conflict in Syria.
President Erdogan expressed his country’s desire to “continue to deepen cooperation relations with Russia, which include the political process on Syria and the situation east of the Euphrates.”
He explained that the Sochi Memorandum of Understanding on Idlib between the two countries in September 2018 brought partial stability to the Idlib region.
He added that the attacks launched by the Syrian regime against civilians in the region, last May, undermined the calm that had been established by the two countries within the framework of the memorandum.
He stressed that “Turkey cannot accept” the regime’s bombing of air and land by civilians in Idlib, and stigmatized 4 million residing there there with “terrorism.”
He indicated that the UN figures indicate that 1.5 million people have been displaced from Idlib towards the Syrian-Turkish border, to escape the bombing of the regime forces.
He explained that the task of the Turkish observation points, which were established on the borders of the “de-escalation zone” in Idlib, is to monitor the ceasefire, not control the ground.
He added that his country sent additional military forces to the region in order to prevent the regime’s aggression, and to curb other factions that did not observe the ceasefire, in conjunction with coordination with Russian forces in the field.
President Erdogan expressed his confidence that Russia will not condone the actions of the Syrian regime that would harm Turkish-Russian cooperation.
He pointed out that the talks of the two parties in Moscow today are evidence of the will of the two countries to find a lasting solution to the problem in the region.
He said that Turkey’s goal is to prevent the worsening of the humanitarian crisis in Idlib, indicating that his country will work with Russia to deliver humanitarian aid to all Syrians “without preconditions and without discrimination between them.”
President Erdogan has indicated that he will maintain contact with his Russian counterpart throughout the implementation of the ceasefire.
He stressed that the negotiating table in Geneva is the only key to achieving lasting peace and stability in Syria.
President Erdoانan also invited Putin to visit Turkey this year to participate in the high-level cooperation meeting between the two countries.