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Turkish, Russian Defense Ministers Discuss Escalation In Idlib

Turkish, Russian Defense Ministers Discuss Escalation In Idlib

Tuesday, 21 May, 2019 - 09:00
A general view taken with a drone shows part of Idlib city, Syria June 8, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah/File Photo
Ankara - Saeed Abdulrazzak
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, discussed in a phone call the measures that have to be taken to reduce tensions in Syria's Idlib province, the Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

"The defense ministers of Turkey and Russia held a phone conversation, during which they discussed the current situation in Idlib as well as the efforts that are needed for de-escalation in this region within the framework of the Sochi agreement," the statement read.

On September 17, during talks at the Russian resort city of Sochi, an agreement was reached to set up a demilitarized zone in Idlib along the contact line between the armed opposition and the regime forces.

The phone call comes after Russia launched a number of raids on Syria's northwestern provinces, killing a minimum of ten civilians as revealed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Monday.

The Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria announced Sunday that the regime forces commended in the midnight of May 18 a one-sided ceasefire.

The UN warned during an extraordinary session for the Security Council that Idlib may face a ‘catastrophic humanitarian crisis’ in case violent acts continue. The regime forces, its Russian allies and Iran-affiliated terrorist groups are launching a wide-scope attack on opposition-ruled regions in the countryside of Hama.

In the same context, Turkish sources denied the Syrian regime accusations for Ankara of backing armed factions in Idlib with missiles launchers.

Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Turkey wishes to implement the Sochi deal and maintain a ceasefire in the de-escalation zones – they added that the intensive talks with Moscow aim to secure the situation in de-escalation zones and to fully implement the deal.

However, observers thought that Turkey is procrastinating to prevent the regime from seizing Idlib. They noted that the deal hasn’t been put into effect yet because the terrorists didn’t withdraw from Damascus-Aleppo and Latakia-Aleppo highways.

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