Syria regime announces 'truce' for Idlib after disastrous months-long assault
Syrian state media announced a surprise "ceasefire" for Idlib on Thursday evening, where Russian and regime forces have launched a bloody and gruelling assault on the opposition province since April.
The truce would be on condition that a Turkish-Russian buffer-zone deal is border areas of Hama and Idlib, the SANA report stated.
"A cease-fire will be implemented in case Sochi agreement is applied. The agreement stipulates terrorists to retreat nearly 20 km in depth from the line of the de-escalation zone of Idleb and to withdraw the heavy and medium weapons," a military source told SANA, Syria's state-managed news agency, using the term "terrorist" to refer to armed opposition groups in Idlib.
The buffer zone was part of a deal agreed by Moscow and Ankara in Sochi last September, which halted another assault on the Idlib region.
Jihadi group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham took over much of Idlib province from moderate rebel groups in January.
Idlib is still technically covered by the truce, but Russia and the Syrian regime began a brutal offensive on the province in April, forcing hundreds of thousands of people from their homes following almost daily bombing of the territories which are home to 3 million people.
The deal specifies that a 20km buffer zone should be implemented between the two sides, but Moscow has accused opposition forces of maintaining heavy weaponry in the area.
Moscow and Damascus have launched a ground and air assault on the region.
Hospitals have been a particular target of the Russian-regime offensive, sparking a major humanitarian crisis in the territories.
Idlib health department's deputy director Mustafa al-Ido said Thursday that saying 12 hospitals in the region were now out of service due to Russian and Syria bombing.
The UN has become more vocal in its criticism of the Russian and regime targeting of medical centres.
Around 800 civilians in Idlib have been killed in the assault, while the area is at risk of a major humanitarian crisis.
The Syrian regime have announced numerous truces throughout the war but have been frequently broken.