Russia and Turkey, ‘total’ cease fire at Idlib. Turkish planes bomb Kurdistan
The truce affects the de-escalation zone of the conflict and will have an indefinite duration. Air raids in recent days have caused at least 25 victims, mostly civilians. Ankara bombs Kurdish targets in northern Iraq at Anadiya and Komane. The main communication line between Dohuk and Amedi broken, several wounded. "The population is terrified".
Damascus (AsiaNews) - Russia and Turkey have negotiated "a total ceasefire" between government forces and rebel militias in Idlib, where an offensive by Assad's army against opponents and jihadists in the area has been underway for some time, according to Russian news agencies quoting military sources in the Kremlin.
Located in the north of the country, the province is the last stronghold still in the hands of anti-government groups and extremist and jihadist factions (from al Qaeda to the Islamic State, ex Isis).
Russia and Turkey (plus Iran) have armed forces on Syrian territory. Despite being on opposite sides (Tehran and Moscow close to Damascus, while Ankara supports the anti-Assad movements), the three countries more than UN diplomacy have managed to loosen the grip of a conflict that has caused almost half a million victims and seven million refugees.
According to Russian military sources, the total ceasefire will take effect in the area of de-escalation of the conflict and will allow further human lives to be saved in an area that has long been plagued by violence. The province of Idlib is home to over three million people, including rebels and civilians who fled from the areas reconquered by the government and even during these days it has been subjected to heavy bombing.
The attacks in the south of Idlib and north of Hama have continued even beyond midnight, when - at least in theory - the ceasefire that will last "indefinitely" should have already been in place.
The air raids last June 10 caused at least 25 victims, many of whom were civilians. Eyewitnesses and local sources speak of hundreds of civilian casualties recorded in the last six weeks of a Syrian army offensive, supported by air raids by the Russian ally. After Aleppo, the eastern Ghouta and Douma, the road map drawn by the Damascus government for the reconquest of the country pointed to the north.
The goal is to retake a strategic area and return to pre-war Syria, before the uprising which broke out in March 2011 and then turned into a proxy war between foreign powers. The violence has caused the flight of tens of thousands of people, who have left their homes looking for refuge across the border in Turkey.
Yesterday, meanwhile, some fighters from the Ankara air force carried out a series of raids against (alleged) targets of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, in the Sidakan border area. The villages of Amadiya and Komane have been destroyed. The attacks blocked the main communication route between Dohuk and Amedi and destroyed a fuel station and a water pipeline. According to some local AsiaNews sources there would also be several (slight) injuries among the population. "The population is terrified - states the source - and no one dares to leave their house".