Midnight ceasefire agreed between Putin, Erdogan comes into effect for Syria’s Idlib

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Thursday that they have reached an agreement for a ceasefire to take effect at midnight in the north-eastern city of Idlib western Syria.

“At 12:01 am this evening, as at midnight, the ceasefire will be put in place,” said Erdogan, after more than six hours of talks in Moscow, Russia.

“We have agreed on a joint document,” said Putin, adding that he hoped it “would serve as a good basis for ending the fighting in the Idlib de-escalation area and ending the suffering of the civilian population “.

Erdogan added that Turkey reserves the right to “retaliate with all its strength against any attack” on Damascus despite the new cease-fire.

“The regime … is solely responsible for the collapse of the [2018 Sochi] “said Erdogan.

In a joint statement read by the Turkish and Russian foreign ministers, the two sides agreed to establish a secure corridor along a key east-west highway in Idlib, Syria, and to hold joint patrols from 15 March. The corridor will extend six kilometers north and six kilometers south of the M4 motorway. Defense ministers of the two countries will agree on the parameters of the corridor within seven days, they said.

Joint patrols will begin along the M4 from the colony of Trumba, just west of the strategic city of Saraqeb, and will continue towards the colony of Ain al Havr, the statement said.