DAMASCUS, Syria, The Syrian army, on Friday, agreed to observe a cease-fire in the country’s northwestern province of Idlib, which is the last major rebel stronghold in the country, as of Saturday (this) morning, state TV reported.

The TV said, the cease-fire will go into effect on Saturday morning, noting that, the Syrian army reserves the right to respond to any violation by the rebels.

Hours ahead of the official Syrian announcement, Russia’s Defence Ministry declared the cease-fire, noting that, it’s a unilateral agreement that will begin at 06:00 a.m. local Syria time (03:00 GMT), in a bid to stabilise the situation in Idlib. It urged the rebels to abandon armed provocations and join the peace process.

The announcement comes a day after Mark Lowcock, UN emergency relief coordinator, called on the UN Security Council, to take meaningful action to protect the civilians in Idlib, where an estimated three million civilians live.

It’s the second cease-fire to take place in Idlib this month. On Aug 1, a Russian, Turkish-backed cease-fire was reached but was quick to collapse.

Since then, battles flared and the Syrian government forces were able to make notable gains, capturing key areas in the southern countryside of Idlib and the adjacent northern countryside of Hama province.

It’s not clear if the new cease-fire would hold, given the fact that the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front is the striking force among other like-minded groups in Idlib and it was the reason behind the failure of the previous agreement.

The new cease-fire, if it worked, would halt battles that have been raging recently in Idlib between the Syrian army and the al-Qaeda-linked groups.

It’s worth noting that areas in the countryside of Hama and the adjacent Idlib province are included in the de-escalation zones’ deal, established by Russia and Turkey last Sept.

Under the deal, Turkish observation points were set up in areas in Idlib and Hama.

However, the deal failed to materialise as the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front rejected to withdraw and battles flared last April.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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DAMASCUS, Syria, The Syrian army, on Friday, agreed to observe a cease-fire in the country's northwestern province of Idlib, which is the last major rebel stronghold in the country, as of Saturday (this) morning, state TV reported.The TV said, the cease-fire will go into effect on Saturday morning, noting...