Published: Wed, May 22, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Russia says Syrian government forces halt fire in Idlib

Russia says Syrian government forces halt fire in Idlib

"Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar discussed over the phone with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu regional security issues, especially the latest developments in Idlib province of Syria and measures to be taken to reduce the tension in the area, within the scope of the agreement signed in Sochi", a statement issued by Turkey's Defense Ministry said.

Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, controls a large part of Idlib province as well as parts of neighbouring Aleppo, Hama and Latakia provinces.

In a statement on its Defense Ministry's website on Friday, Turkey also accused Syrian government forces of violating a ceasefire agreement reached with Russian Federation for Idlib, adding that an escalation in violence could lead to a humanitarian tragedy.

"I came back at night to find my home devastated", said the 72-year-old, dressed in a long red robe and a black scarf covering her hair.

"I'd like to know, since we know that Russian Federation and Syria are the only countries that fly planes in the area", Ambassador Karen Pierce said.

The pro-government Syrian Central Military Media said government forces responded to shelling by rebel fighters on Sunday on the edge of Idlib, according the Associated Press news agency.

Fighting raged in the north of Hama province between government loyalists and militants early on Monday, the Observatory said, after a relative respite in the bombardments over the past three days.

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Save the Children said 38 children had been killed in shelling in northwest Syria since 1 April, including nine at school, seven at markets and one in a hospital.

Both Russia and Turkey list the HTS as a "terrorist" organisation.

"They've now decided that didn't work and the bombardment by the Russians and the Syrian air force has continued".

Syrian government forces have unilaterally ceased fire in the northern Idlib province, the last major rebel stronghold, Russian Federation said Sunday, while opposition activists reported continued shelling and airstrikes.

The Russian army on Sunday said President Bashar al-Assad s Syrian forces had ceased fire "unilaterally" in northwestern Idlib province, where the United Nations fears a "humanitarian catastrophe".

However, the effort has been strained by the surge of violence in recent weeks in Idlib, where about three million people live.

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