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Turkey Hints Military Operation with Russia, Iran in Idlib a Possibility

Turkey Hints Military Operation with Russia, Iran in Idlib a Possibility

Sunday, 17 February, 2019 - 13:45
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Reuters)
Ankara - Saeed Abdulrazzak
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not rule out the possibility of conducting a joint military operation with Russia and Iran against militants in the Syrian de-escalation zone of Idlib.

“Joint operations can be conducted at any time in line with the developments,” Erdogan stressed.

“There is no obstacle in front of these. Current measures are for the comfort, happiness and prosperity of the people in Idlib.”

“What is essential for us is the security of the people of Idlib," Erdogan was quoted as saying after the trilateral summit on Syria in Russia’s Sochi.

The Turkish and Russian armies are working intensively to implement the Sochi agreement on the establishment of a demilitarized zone in Idlib and the fight against terrorist groups in the region, he explained.

Speaking to reporters accompanying him on his return trip from Russia, Erdogan did not specify the concrete steps that will be taken, but he reiterated a trilateral agreement for joint operations in the enclave.

He said the region is home to tens of thousands of extremists, who control around 90 percent of the Syrian province.

The Turkish President stressed that all three countries were willing to continue the implementation of the protocol, with Turkish and Russian military officials in intense works to this end.

Efforts are exerted to stop these groups from terrorizing the Idlib province, Erdogan said.

“Our National Intelligence Organization is working intensely. They are trying to prevent terrorist actions. Our observation posts in Idlib will also fulfill a critical duty.”

In this context, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Turkey is responsible for separating its opposition factions from the Nusra Front.

Addressing the annual Munich Security Conference, Lavrov said efforts are currently underway in Idlib to implement the memorandum signed last year between Moscow and Ankara to establish a demilitarized zone.

“There was an agreement that Russian and Turkish forces, with the consent of the Syrian government, would try to establish a gradual approach, making several areas inside the deescalation zone of joint patrol,” he added.

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