ISLAMABAD – Russia requested the UN Security Council endorse a ceasefire for Syria, but the United States, a veto-wielding power, refused and called the truce “premature.” Questions remain on how the ceasefire will be enforced.
[image: US rejects Russian plan for Syria ceasefire at UN Security Council]
Russia and Turkey agreed on a ceasefire for Syria link, but the agreement failed to get the backing of the UN Security Council on Friday. A ceasefire endorsement proposed by Russia was rejected when the United States, which is one of the five countries with veto power on the Council.
Russian ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, had asked the other 14 Security Council members to adopt the agreement, but the United States rejected it saying it and called the deal “premature.” Some European nations welcomed the proposal but wanted to amend the statement.
At midnight Friday local time, a Turkey-Russia brokered ceasefire went into effect in Idlib, Syria. The agreement looks to be holding so far, if shakily.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to the deal during talks in Moscow on Thursday, after a Turkish offensive into northwestern Syria against the Syrian regime dramatically escalated fighting in Idlib province this week.
The ceasefire deal will largely halt the warfare in Idlib, but it also concedes territorial gains for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has been waging a bloody campaign to retake Idlib, the last major outpost held by opposition fighters in Syria.
The deal establishes a security corridor six kilometers to the north and south of the M4, a key east-west roadway that, along with the M5, effectively reconnects the major cities under the Syrian regime’s control. Turkey and Russia also agreed to conduct joint patrols in this area, starting March 15.
The deal is a win for both Assad and Russia, and a major loss for Turkey and the anti-Syrian regime rebels in Idlib, which oppose Assad. (Islamist extremist groups tied to al-Qaeda, specifically Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, or HTS, are also active in the area.) Turkey was basically forced to accept the reality of Assad’s gains in Idlib, which includes those strategic highways.