Turkey, World

Turkish, Russian delegations discuss Syria’s Idlib

Turkish delegation tells Russia that for de-escalation, cease-fire in Idlib, Syrian regime should abide by 2018 Sochi deal

Zuhal Demirci   | 28.02.2020
Turkish, Russian delegations discuss Syria’s Idlib

ANKARA

Turkish and Russian delegations on Friday continued their talks on the recent situation in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, where Bashar al-Assad regime’s airstrikes martyred 33 Turkish soldiers on late Thursday.

According to diplomatic sources, the meeting was held at the request of the Russian side.

The Turkish delegation stressed the need for an immediate and sustainable ceasefire in Idlib and de-escalation in the region. The delegation also told the Russian side that Syrian regime forces need to withdraw to areas determined in the 2018 Sochi deal.

The first two rounds of the talks were held in Ankara and Moscow, respectively. But tensions since have escalated in the region.

Late Thursday, at least 33 Turkish soldiers were martyred and tens of others injured in an airstrike by Assad regime forces in Idlib, just across Turkey’s southern border.d

The Turkish soldiers are working to protect local civilians under a September 2018 deal with Russia under which acts of aggression are prohibited in the region.

But more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by Assad and Russian forces in the zone since then, as the cease-fire continues to be violated.

Thursday’s attack was one of a series since January on Turkish troops, with Turkish officials keeping their pledge that such assaults would not go unanswered.

The de-escalation zone is currently home to 4 million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces throughout the war-torn country.

More than 1.7 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks.

Since the eruption of the bloody civil war in Syria in 2011, Turkey has taken in some 3.7 million Syrians who fled their country, making it the world’s top refugee hosting country.

*Writing by Fahri Aksut

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