Russia has announced that Syrian government forces have unilaterally halted fire in the last major rebel-held enclave of northern Idlib province, according to a Reuters news report on Sunday.
According to the statement from the Russian Defence Ministry’s Centre for Reconciliation of the Warring Sides in Syria, the government forces ceased fire in Idlib as of midnight on Saturday.
Reuters said that no further details were provided of the move in the statement other than it was said to be unilateral.
Since late April, the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad and his ally Russia have been bombing Idlib, most of which has been under control of former Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) since January 2019.
The HTS includes the former Syrian al Qaeda affiliate, the Nusra Front.
The strikes have resulted in the deaths of dozens and displacement of around 180,000 Syrians in the region which is home to some three million people, according to the latest data from the United Nations.
The RIA news agency reported that Russia’s Ministry of Defence said on Monday that it had shot down six missiles fired at its main Hmeymim air base in Syria’s Latakia Province over the weekend.
According to RIA, Russia accused former Nusra Front militants of being behind the assault.
The cease-fire treaty reached by Russia and Turkey in September 2018, which was in place until late April, was effectively shattered by the fighting.
While Russia is backing Syria’s government and aims the Assad regime to gain full control over the region, Turkey has been supporting anti-Assad rebels throughout the eight-year war.
The agreement called the Astana Process aimed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression would be expressly prohibited.
More than a week ago, Turkey called on both the Syrian government and Russia to halt attacks in Idlib and withdraw to the boundaries delineated under the treaty.
According to a report by the Diken news website, on Sunday Turkey boosted its military presence at its Syrian border. A convoy of military vehicles carrying commando units and tanks arrived at Hatay’s Reyhanli district on the border, Diken said in the report.