Turkey needs to send more troops to Idlib under deal with Russia: FM
Iran Press TV
Tue Sep 18, 2018 01:56PM
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says his country will need to deploy more troops to Syria's militant-held northwestern province of Idlib following an agreement with Russia, which entails a demilitarized zone in the crisis-plagued area.
"We need extra troop reinforcements. Idlib's borders will be protected. People will stay in their place. Russia will take necessary measures to prevent attacks against this region... Twelve of our monitoring stations will remain," Cavusoglu said at a ministerial meeting in the capital Ankara on Tuesday.
The top Turkish diplomat added, "The borders of Idlib will be protected under the memorandum of understanding signed in Sochi. There would be no change in the status of Idlib."
Cavusoglu said heavy weapons will be removed from the demilitarized zone in Idlib, stressing, "Civilians will stay. Only terrorist groups will be removed."
The Turkish foreign minister noted that the region would be cleared off from "radicals," and that a ceasefire would be enforced.
Cavusoglu underlined that heavy weapons will be removed from the demilitarized zone in Idlib by October 15.
He said the M4 and M5 highways, which run east to west and north to south through Idlib, linking the strategic northwestern city of Aleppo with the capital Damascus and the Mediterranean coast, would be open to traffic by the end of the year.
The remarks came a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin met in Russia's coastal city of Sochi, and agreed to divide Idlib into a demilitarized zone between militant-held and government-controlled areas.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.
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