Erdoğan and Putin agree to ceasefire in Syria

Erdoğan and Putin
Erdoğan and Putin
*Image source: Presidential Press Service

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, have announced they have reached a military ceasefire agreement to begin at midnight in the northwestern Syrian region of Idlib.

"At 00.01 tonight, as in, from midnight, the ceasefire will be put in place," Erdogan told reporters on Thursday after his meeting with Putin in Moscow that lasted six hours.

The deal struck by Putin and Erdoğan also established a security corridor along a key east-west highway in Idlib province.

In his opening remarks, Putin thanked Erdoğan for accepting his invitation for talks on the recent escalation. "Thank you for coming. There is always something to talk about, but now the situation in a well-known area – Idlib – has escalated so much that it requires our direct, personal conversation...The loss of life is always a great tragedy. Unfortunately, as I told you on the phone, no one, including the Syrian military, knew about their (Turkish soldiers) whereabouts," he said.

Putin also voiced hope that the agreement will serve as a "good basis for ending the fighting in the Idlib de-escalation zone, put an end to suffering of civilian population and contain a growing humanitarian crisis."

This was the first meeting between the two leaders since 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in a Syrian government airstrike in Idlib.