The airstrikes on Idleb in northwestern Syria stopped on Saturday morning after the entry into force of a ceasefire announced by Russia, allied with President Bashar al-Assad who seeks to take over this region, reported an NGO.
"There are no warplanes in the sky and air strikes have stopped," said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH).
He added that clashes between regime forces and insurgents outside the region had also ceased after the unilateral truce entered into force around 6:00 am (0300 GMT) but that artillery and rocket fire prosecuted.
The Russian army announced on Friday that a unilateral ceasefire, involving only the Syrian army, would come into effect on Saturday morning in the Idleb region.
An agreement was reached for "a unilateral ceasefire by Syrian government forces starting at 6:00 am on August 31," the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria said in a statement.
"The Russian Center for Reconciliation calls on commanders of armed groups to abandon provocations and join the process of peaceful settlement in the areas they control," he said.
After several months of heavy bombardment by Russian and Syrian air forces, Bashar al-Assad's forces began a ground offensive on August 8th against that province, dominated by the jihadists of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). former Syrian branch of Al Qaeda.
Thursday, government forces had conquered new areas of the area after having already taken the strategic city of Khan Cheikhoun, south of Idleb.
The entire sector is supposed to be protected by an agreement on a "demilitarized zone", unveiled in September 2018 by Turkey and Russia to separate government areas from territories in the hands of jihadists and insurgents, but this agreement does not did not prevent the regime's offensive.
This is Russia's latest effort to avoid what the UN has described as one of the worst humanitarian "nightmares" of the conflict.
Since the end of April, the bombings of Damascus and the Russian ally have killed more than 950 civilians in the Idleb region, according to the OSDH. And more than 400,000 people have been displaced, according to the UN.
The regime had canceled a similar truce deal early in August, just three days after it came into force, accusing rebels and jihadists of not respecting it.
President Assad, who now controls about 60 percent of the country, has pledged to recover the rest of the country, including Idleb.
© 2019 AFP