Russia and Turkey broker ceasefire in Syria's Idlib, say Russian news agencies

Members of the Syrian Civil Defence (known as the White Helmets) carry a wounded man in Idlib province.
Members of the Syrian Civil Defence (known as the White Helmets) carry a wounded man in Idlib province.PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (REUTERS) - Russia and Turkey have brokered a complete ceasefire in Syria's Idlib province between Syrian government forces and rebels, Russian news agencies cited the Russian military as saying on Wednesday (June 12).

The Russian military said the ceasefire applied to the so-called Idlib de-escalation zone and had led to a significant reduction in violence on Wednesday, Russian news agencies reported.

They did not say how long the ceasefire would last.

Aerial strikes on Monday killed at least 25 people, mostly civilians, in northwestern Syria in the sixth week of a Russian-led military offensive that has so far killed hundreds of civilians, according to residents and civil rescuers.

The violence in Idlib province and a strip of nearby Hama has marked the biggest military escalation between President Bashar al-Assad and his insurgent enemies since last summer.

Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes, many of them sheltering at the Turkish border from air strikes that have killed scores of people.

Turkey had complained to Moscow, which backs the Syrian government, while Russia had said the onus was on Ankara to rein in the rebels.

Idlib is the last significant rebel stronghold.