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06 Mar 2020 | 08:52 PM UTC

Syria: Turkey and Russia reach ceasefire agreement in Idlib March 5 /update 3

Ceasefire between Turkish and Russian forces comes into effect in Idlib province on March 5; further clashes still possible

security
SYR

Event

A ceasefire between Turkey and Russia in Idlib province was reached on Thursday, March 5, after a recent escalation in fighting in the region. The agreement was reached after extensive talks between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow (Russia). Under the agreement, Turkey and the Syrian regime will maintain control over territory in the province and a 6 km (4 mi) wide security corridor will be established along the M4 highway. Turkish and Russian forces are also planning to begin joint patrols along the highway starting on Sunday, March 15, between Trumba and Ain al-Havr.

Despite the ceasefire agreement, the situation in Idlib remains tense. Following the press conference announcing the deal, President Erdoğan said that Turkey "reserves the right to respond to any attacks from the regime." Further clashes between regime and Turkish forces are possible over the near term.

Context

Turkey increase operations targeting the Syrian regime in Idlib province after a Russian airstrike killed 34 soldiers on February 27. At least 58 Turkish soldiers have been killed in the fighting, including those in the airstrike.

To date, the Syrian conflict involves many parties, including the Syrian government, the Russian government, the Iranian government, the Turkish government, a US-led coalition, and numerous armed groups on the ground (including the Islamic State) with competing goals.

Advice

Due to extremely poor security conditions, Western governments generally advise against all travel to Syria, with some banning travel to the country. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to any travel to Syria.