Russia says Syrian government forces have unilaterally ceased fire in the northern Idlib province, the last major rebel stronghold.
Fighting erupted in Idlib late last month, effectively shattering a cease-fire negotiated by Russia and Turkey that had been in place since September. Russia has firmly backed President Bashar Assad's government in the eight-year civil war, while Turkey has supported the opposition.
In a brief statement on Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry's Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Sides in Syria said government forces had ceased fire as of midnight. It described the move as unilateral, but did not give details.Link
The centre continued by saying that the Syrian Army unilaterally ceased fire in Idlib starting from May 18.
"Starting from midnight [21:00 GMT on Friday], the Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic unilaterally ceased fire in the Idlib de-escalation zone. At the same time, the shelling of the government forces' positions and civilian population in the provinces of Hama, Latakia and Aleppo by militants continue", the center said in a statement.
Doesn't mean the situation won't heat up in Idlib again. It just means for now SAA has taken the strategic ground they've needed to take- with coordination from Turkey (removing their rebels) And they are going to hold that area.
If you've not been following along?
"For Russia and the Syrian regime, Turkish advances have been characterized by land swaps. This process began with the Olive Branch operation, when Turkey’s takeover of Afrin was accompanied by a Syrian military advance toward the former Hijaz railway in Aleppo Governorate. These swaps have not introduced any procedure for withdrawals, so that each side has been left on its respective battlefield."
Included personal observations/thoughts as to what was occurring:
Appears a very targeted operation is going on at this moment.
I'm thinking a limited operation to take back specific territory.
Lastly: Israel did attack Syria. Again. Twice in 24 hours:
Syria claimed its air defenses on Saturday night shot down a number of missiles fired from Israel, for the second time in less than 24 hours.
The official SANA news agency said the military intercepted “hostile targets coming from direction of occupied territories.” Syrian state TV said the missiles were shot down over Quneitra and near Damascus.Link
The report comes less than 24 hours after the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said that Syrian air defence systems shot down a number of "luminous objects" launched from "occupied territories."On Saturday, Syrian air defences fired at projectiles that were launched from Israeli-controlled areas into southern Syria, according to state media. The SANA correspondent reported from Quneitra Province that the "objects" were dealt with from the ground.
Meanwhile, videos of bright spots in the night, with the caption saying that Syrian air defences fired at targets coming from Israel, were published online.
This comes as on late Friday SANA reported that Syria repelled an attack by "luminous" objects launched from Israel and shot down a "number of them". The Ikhbariya broadcaster reported that the projectiles were fired from the "occupied territories," referring to Israel, but didn't specified the exact launch location.— Qalaat Al Mudiq (@QalaatAlMudiq) 18 мая 2019 г.