Al-Jazeera correspondent said that the Syrian regime forces violated the cease-fire agreement concluded in Moscow between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and entered into force midnight tonight.
The correspondent stated that since the first minutes of the ceasefire in force, the regime forces shelled towns in the southern countryside of Idlib and western Aleppo.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that the regime forces fired several artillery shells at the opposition strongholds as soon as the agreement entered into force, but indicated that calm had subsequently prevailed in the area.
Prior to the announcement of this agreement, the Al-Jazeera correspondent in Syria reported that 16 civilians were killed and others seriously wounded as a result of Russian air strikes targeting a center housing displaced persons near the city of Ma’ara Masrin in the northern Idlib countryside.
A woman was also killed by artillery shelling of the regime forces targeting the city of Dara Azza in the western countryside of Aleppo. The correspondent pointed out that Russian and Syrian aircraft launched intense air strikes on the towns of Jabal Al-Zawiya in Idlib countryside, which caused great damage in them.
The Russian President said – in a press conference held with his Turkish counterpart after their talks – that the agreement stipulated to protect civilians and end their suffering, to deliver humanitarian aid to the displaced, and to respect the territorial integrity of Syria.
For his part, the Turkish President said that a cease-fire in Idlib will take effect from midnight tonight, and that Ankara and Moscow will monitor it, adding Turkey will provide assistance to the displaced and ensure their return to their homes.
Erdogan pointed out that the Geneva track on Syria should be taken into account during the next stage, stressing that his country retains the right to respond to any attack by the Syrian regime.
Terms of the agreement
The recent agreement between Turkey and Russia is an additional supplement to the Sochi Agreement, and it includes three main points:
– Establishing a safe corridor 6 km north of the international road “M4” and 6 km south of the road, provided that the precise parameters of the corridor’s work be coordinated between the defense ministries of the two countries within a week.
– Halting all military activities along the seam in the de-escalation zone in Idlib, starting at midnight on Thursday.
– Carry out joint Turkish and Russian patrols as of March 15 this year, along the M4 road between the Tarnabah regions west of Saraqib and Ain Al-Hour.
For his part, the American special envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey, said that his country and the United Nations should show their solidarity with the residents of Idlib in the face of the violent attack by the Syrian regime against its people.
During an international conference on Idlib, held in Istanbul, Jeffrey stressed that Washington was pressuring European countries to play a greater role in Syria.
In this context, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, expressed his hope that the new Turkish-Russian agreement would lead to an immediate and permanent cessation of hostilities, thus ensuring the protection of civilians in northwestern Syria.