Turkey Expects Russia To Immediately Stop Syrian Regime Attacks In Idlib

Turkey expects Moscow to put an end to Syrian government forces’ attacks in the northwestern region of Idlib immediately, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said.

Cavusoglu, speaking to reporters on February 6 in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, said Turkey needed to work with Russia to resolve problems in Idlib, the last rebel stronghold in Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to push back Syrian government forces in Idlib unless they withdraw from the region by the end of month, after an attack by Syrian forces killed eight Turkish military personnel in Idlib on February 3.

Cavusoglu also said that a Russian delegation would come to Turkey to discuss Idlib and that Erdogan might meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, if necessary.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on February 6 that Russian and Turkish “military specialists” were killed by militants who staged more than 1,000 attacks in the last two weeks of January in the de-escalation zone in Idlib.

“There has recently been a dangerous increase in tension and a surge of violence in Idlib,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.

Russia continues to closely coordinate with Turkey and Iran on the ground in Syria, the statement said.

Turkey and Russia, which support opposing sides in Syria’s conflict, have agreed to work toward de-escalating the fighting in Idlib and creating a demilitarized zone.

A war monitor said on February 6 that Syrian government forces battling rebels in Idlib were hit by Turkish artillery fire as they tried to seize the town of Saraqeb.

Government forces backed by air strikes had encircled and entered Saraqeb, 15 kilometers east of Idlib city, the previous day, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Interfax
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