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Russia, Turkey Agree to ‘Decisive’ Measures in Syria’s Idlib

Russia, Turkey Agree to ‘Decisive’ Measures in Syria’s Idlib

Tuesday, 12 February, 2019 - 06:30
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, left, and Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu greet each other before their talks in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. (AP)
Ankara, Moscow – Saeed Abdulrazek and Raed Jaber
Moscow announced that its Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar agreed in Ankara on Monday on the need to take “decisive measures” to restore peace and stability in Syria’s Idlib.

The announcement was interpreted as Russian support for a limited military operation in northwestern Syria.

“Our contacts with Russia that we maintain at all possible levels will make a substantial contribution to peace and stability in the region. They are also aimed at protecting the rights and interests of the two countries," Akar said.

The meeting comes ahead of an expected tripartite summit on Syria between the leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran in the Russian resort city of Sochi on Thursday.

The meeting also aims to dissipate tension that recently emerged between the two states.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had previously said Moscow suggested the idea of Russia and Turkey mounting a joint operation to oust extremists from Idlib.

He stressed that Ankara objects to the idea and prefers a solution that would lead to the isolation of extremists.

On Monday, Russia did not offer details about what measures would be taken by both countries to counter extremism in the area.

But a statement released following the Russian-Turkish summit said: “Despite provocations, we underlined the importance and need to continue partnerships between our two countries’ intelligence and military forces to establish peace and to support stability in Idlib.”

It added that both countries stress “the need in particular to take decisive measures to ensure security in the Idlib demilitarized zone.”

Following talks with Shoigu, Akar headed to Washington to tackle address the situation in northwestern Syria and means to implement President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw his forces from east of the Euphrates River.

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