Russia, Turkey agree ceasefire deal for Syria’s Idlib

first_imgTurkey, which has the second largest army in the transatlantic NATO alliance, has funneled troops and equipment into the region in recent weeks to resist the Syrian government advance and prevent a wave of refugees over its southern border.Russia also raced to reinforce its troops in Syria by sea and air before the Putin-Erdogan talks.More deathsThe Kremlin said the two leaders had spoken for three hours on their own before being joined by their officials.The two leaders also agreed to establish a secure corridor near the M4 highway, which runs east to west through Idlib, and hold joint patrols along the road from March 15.In a joint statement read out by the Turkish and Russian foreign ministers, the two sides said the corridor would stretch 6 km to the north and 6 km to the south of the M4 – effectively advancing Russia’s presence further north into Idlib.They said their defense ministers would agree on the parameters of the corridor within seven days.The fighting, which has raised the prospect of a direct clash between Russia and Turkey, has killed 60 Turkish troops in the region since last month, including the death of a Turkish soldier reported by a regional governor on Thursday.Putin expressed his regret to Erdogan about the recent killing of 34 Turkish troops in an air strike, saying the Syrian military had not known of their location.Ahead of the talks, at least 16 civilians were killed when Russian air strikes hit a gathering of displaced people near the town of Maarat Misrin in Idlib, according to civil defense workers helping clear the rubble and search for survivors.Russia denies targeting civilians.Two witnesses also reported seeing more Turkish military reinforcements deploying into Idlib, and Russia’s RIA news agency said rebels had resumed shelling the strategic town of Saraqeb in Idlib where Russian military police are based.The Turkish defense ministry said it had destroyed four tanks, five rocket launchers and a dozen military vehicles in artillery and air strikes in the last 24 hours.Turkey hosts some 3.6 million Syrian refugees and says it cannot handle more. Seeking to extract more funding and support from Europe over Idlib, Ankara said last week it would no longer abide by a 2016 deal in which it stopped migrants crossing into the European Union in return for billions of euros in aid. Erdogan told reporters the truce would come into effect at midnight on Thursday. “We will work together to supply aid for the Syrians in need,” he said, adding that Turkey retained the right “to respond to all (Syrian) regime attacks in the field.”Russia and Turkey back opposing sides in Syria’s nine-year conflict, with Moscow supporting President Bashar al-Assad and Turkey backing some rebel groups. They have in recent years reached several ceasefire deals in Idlib, which have collapsed.Russian air strikes have propelled an offensive by Assad’s forces in Idlib that sparked what the United Nations says may be the worst humanitarian crisis yet in a war that has driven millions from their homes and killed hundreds of thousands.The Russian military has, however, repeatedly played down any talk of a refugee crisis and accused Turkey of violating international law by pouring enough troops into Idlib to make up a mechanized division. Turkey and Russia agreed a ceasefire deal on Thursday in Syria’s Idlib region, their two leaders said after lengthy talks in Moscow to contain a conflict which has displaced nearly a million people in three months.Russian President Vladimir Putin, standing next to his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan, said he hoped their agreement would lead to a halt of military action in Syria’s last rebel stronghold in the far northwest of the country.”I express hope that these agreements will serve as a good basis for a cessation of military activity in the Idlib de-escalation zone [and] stop the suffering of the peaceful population and the growing humanitarian crisis,” Putin said.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Smith’s hundred powers Tridents to victory

first_imgA SECOND century of the season for Dwayne Smith set up a crucial 29-run victory for the Barbados Tridents against St Lucia Stars in Match 27 of the 2017 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) on Thursday night. The victory keeps the Tridents in the hunt for a final spot and ensures the Stars end their season without a win.After winning the toss the Tridents promoted Nicholas Pooran to open the batting for only the third time in his T20 career and he justified their decision in an explosive 20-ball 36.While Dwayne Smith struggled for fluency early on Pooran displayed his power and timing as he struck two sixes and four fours. When he was dismissed with two balls remaining in the Powerplay – duped by a well-disguised slower ball from Obed McCoy – he had scored more than 80% of the Tridents’ runs.In the six overs after the Powerplay the Tridents began to lose their way. First Kane Williamson was brilliantly stumped by Andre Fletcher down the leg side off the bowling of Rahkeem Cornwall and then Kieron Pollard mis-timed a rank short ball from Cornwall in the twelfth over to leave the Tridents 83 for 3 after 11.3 overs.Having struggled for timing in the Powerplay, Smith then begun to find his range, striking his first six in the 12th over and another a few balls later before taking 22 off a Shane Watson over to really get the innings moving.Smith lost his partner, Eoin Morgan, but continued unabated scoring boundaries on both sides of the ground, pulling well off the back foot and driving with typical aplomb off the front foot.The Stars have struggled to restrict run-scoring in the death overs this season and their weakness was once again exposed as Smith punished some wayward lines. 28 runs came from the 18th and 19th overs before a 42-minute stoppage due to a floodlight failure which delayed the bowling of the last over.When they eventually returned Watson struggled to bowl the right length and Christopher Barnwell and Smith took 22 from the over, with Smith reaching his century with consecutive sixes. Watson finished with figures of 0 for 55 from just three overs and the Tridents with 195 for 5 – the equal highest total at Kensington Oval.The Stars innings started in frenetic fashion when Andre Fletcher hit a six and a four in the opening over before mis-timing a short ball from Ravi Rampaul to Eoin Morgan in the deep. Watson briefly threatened to get going, scoring 22 before pulling a Wahab Riaz short ball to mid-wicket. Three Cornwall boundaries helped the Stars to 54 for 2 after six overs.The relaxing of the field restrictions did nothing to slow Cornwall who cleared the ropes three times in the two overs after the Powerplay and moved to his fifty in the 11th over, off just 26 balls. Johnson Charles struggled for fluency and timing and scored just 13 off 20.Cornwall was having no such troubles however and continued to find the boundary regularly enough to keep the run rate in check. He should have been dismissed in the 9th over when he picked out Barnwell at long off who dropped the catch.With five overs remaining and 59 required Cornwall begun to show signs of tiring, complicating the Stars strategy. Running between the wickets ceased to be an option and after the equation had been reduced to 48 off 16 balls Cornwall decided to retire, allowing Darren Sammy to come in.Two balls later Marlon Samuels picked out Pollard on the boundary. In the face of a spiralling run rate and some tight death bowling the Stars were unable to stay with the Tridents and eventually fell short by 29 runs. (CPLT20)last_img read more