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US, Turkey re-evaluate situation in Idlib

US Special envoy for Syria visits Ankara to demonstrate support of his country to Turkey

Zuhal Demirci  | 11.02.2020 - Update : 12.02.2020
US, Turkey re-evaluate situation in Idlib U.S. Special Representative for Syria, James Jeffrey arrives in Ankara, Turkey on February 11, 2020.


The U.S. special envoy for Syria visited Turkey on Tuesday to re-evaluate the recent developments in the region.

Speaking to reporters at Ankara's Esenboga International Airport, James Jeffrey said Turkey, as a NATO ally, encountered a great threat in Idlib, northwestern Syria, coming from the Assad regime and Russia.

Jeffrey said he came to Ankara to re-evaluate the situation with the Turkish government, adding that the U.S. will give as much as possible support to Turkey.

He also extended condolences to the country for the martyred Turkish troops by the regime attacks in Idlib earlier Monday.

The Turkish troops are in Idlib as part of an anti-terror and peace mission.

Idlib has been a stronghold of the opposition and anti-government armed groups since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

But more than 1,800 civilians have been killed in attacks by regime and Russian forces since then, flouting both the 2018 cease-fire and a new one that started on Jan. 12.

Accompanying Jeffrey, the ambassador's senior advisor Rich Outzen said the U.S. "strongly condemned the attacks of the Damascus regime."

Stressing the importance of solidarity, Outzen said his country will continue to be in close contact with Turkey.

“In Ankara, Ambassador Jeffrey will meet with senior Turkish officials to discuss the Assad regime’s Russian-backed destabilizing military offensive in #Idlib and how we can work together toward a political solution to the Syrian Conflict,” the U.S. Embassy in Turkey said on Twitter earlier.

“The destabilizing actions of Russia, the Iranian regime, Hizballah & the Assad regime are hindering the establishment of a nationwide ceasefire in Syria as called for an UNSCR 2254 & the safe return of hundreds of thousands of displaced persons in northern Syria to their homes,” it added.

The embassy also called for “an immediate ceasefire and full access to the affected areas by humanitarian organizations to alleviate the suffering of the hundreds of thousands that have fled the incessant bombing.”

* Writing by Gozde Bayar from Ankara.

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