İrem UZUN -TDO- Turkish and Russian officials have largely reached an agreement on details of a ceasefire in Syria's Idlib region during talks in Ankara, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar was quoted as saying by state media on Thursday. Last week, Turkey and Russia agreed on the ceasefire meant to halt an escalation of violence in Idlib. A Russian delegation arrived in Ankara this week to discuss the details including a security corridor and joint patrols on the key M4 highway.

"We have largely reached an agreement. At the moment, the attacks have stopped, the ceasefire is holding," Akar was cited as saying by his office. "The joint patrols will start along the M4 on March 15. Our colleagues are discussing the details of that." A senior Turkish official told Reuters news agency that concrete results were expected from the discussions in Ankara. Turkey was prepared to retaliate against violations by the Syrian government, he added. "The fact that we are moving in line with the agreements brings hope for the future. We are moving forward," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Akar also said on Thursday that all Turkish forces remained in their positions in Idlib. The latest Russia-backed offensive in Idlib by al-Assad's forces 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. Russia had repeatedly played down any talk of a refugee crisis and accused Turkey of violating international law by pouring troops and equipment into Idlib since early last month.

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