January 13, 2020 / 10:31 AM / 9 days ago

Russia says civilians can flee Syria's Idlib via three new checkpoints

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s Defence Ministry said in a statement late on Sunday that civilians could leave what it calls a de-escalation zone in Syria’s Idlib Province via three new checkpoints.

The ministry said it had received many requests from Syrian civilians in Idlib in areas controlled by armed groups to return to their homes in territory controlled by Syrian government forces.

The Russian military warned armed groups to allow people to leave Idlib if they wanted to.

Russia and its allies halted air strikes in Idlib on Sunday as a ceasefire agreed with Turkey came into force, residents, rebels and respondents said, although few were optimistic the truce would hold.

Reporting by Alexander Marrow and Anton Kolodazhnyy; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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