The Syrian government claims to have agreed to a ceasefire in the last major rebel province of Idlib. This should begin on Thursday evening, reported the state-run Syrian news agency Sana, citing military circles. The condition is that "the terrorists" implemented the withdrawal agreed last year from a 20-kilometer-wide buffer zone. Even medium and heavy weapons would have to be deducted.
The area surrounding the town of Idlib in northwestern Syria is dominated by the Al Qaeda-affiliated militia Haiat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). Last September, Russia, an ally of the Syrian government, and Turkey, supporters of the insurgents, had agreed to set up a 15 to 20 kilometer wide buffer zone in the region. So a government offensive should be averted.
The troops of Syria's ruler Bashar al-Assad began at the end of April, however, with an offensive. As a result, Syrian and Russian jets flew in the past weeks repeatedly air raids on the area. Hundreds of civilians were killed and, according to UN data, a total of more than 400,000 people were displaced. Around three million people live in the region, around half of whom are displaced from other parts of the country. Helpers complain about a disastrous humanitarian situation.
UN General Secretary António Guterres ordered an investigation into the destruction of hospitals and similar facilities in the Idlib region on Thursday. An internal commission will collate and report the facts, Guterres said in New York. In the air raids hospitals, schools and similar institutions are hit again and again. The United Nations has recently been worried that their geographic coordinates have been targeted for attacks.