'Russia, Turkey to intensify consultations on Syria's Idlib'
Iran Press TV
Saturday, 22 February 2020 12:51 AM
The Russian and Turkish heads of state agree during a phone call to step up their bilateral consultations concerning the situation in the terrorists-infested northwestern Syrian province of Idlib.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed during the conversation that took place on Friday to "intensify bilateral consultations on Idlib with the aim of reducing tensions, guaranteeing a ceasefire, and neutralizing the terrorist threat," the Kremlin said in a statement.
Putin, for his part, told his Turkish counterpart that he was "seriously concerned" by the "aggressive actions" of Takfiri terrorists in the province.
The province contains the largest remaining concentrations of the terrorists, who have fled there since September 2015, when Russia began lending airpower to Syria's counter-terrorism operations.
Backed by the Russian aerial support, the Syrian military has enhanced its anti-terror efforts in Idlib over the past months.
The advances have liberated many areas across Idlib, including some hosting Turkish observation posts. Turkey began setting up the facilities in the province in 2018, when it agreed to cooperate with Russia to contain the situation in the vicinity of the Turkish border.
Turkey claims that more than a dozen of its troops have died during clashes with the Syrian forces. It has been sending huge reinforcements to Idlib, has threatened an "imminent" assault on the Syrian military, and asked Russia to "stop" the Syrian gains.
Speaking with Putin, Erdogan repeated the demand, stressing that the Syrian government "should be restrained in Idlib," the Turkish presidency said in a statement.
Damascus, however, has vowed to bring every inch of its soil back under sovereign control.
Syria has reclaimed the biggest part of the territory that it lost to the overwhelming foreign-backed violence that began afflicting the Arab country in 2011.
The violence, featuring rampant militancy and Takfiri terrorism, has been fuelled by many Western and regional countries, including Turkey, which still supports a number of anti-Damascus militant outfits in Idlib.
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