Turkey tells Russia: Syrian regime attacks against Idlib must stop

ANKARA: Turkey’s Foreign Minister said on Sunday that he told his Russian counterpart that the attacks by the Damascus regime in the northwestern province of Idlib must stop.

Backed by the Russian air power, the Syrian regime has been intensifying its assault on the northwestern province of Idlib.

And tensions have increased between Ankara and Moscow after 14 Turks were killed by Syrian government forces in the region.

“I stressed that the attacks on Idlib must stop and that it was necessary to establish a lasting ceasefire that would not be violated,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Germany.

Cavusoglu met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday during the Munich Security Conference.

Turkey has 12 observation posts in Idlib as part of a 2018 agreement reached between Ankara and Moscow in the Russian Sochi complex to avoid a regime offensive.

But despite the agreement, the Syrian regime’s forces, backed by Russian airstrikes, have moved forward with an assault to recover the province, killing hundreds of people.

It is believed that four of the Turkish posts are surrounded by Syrian forces, and Ankara has threatened to attack Damascus if they do not retire at the end of February.

A Turkish delegation will go to Moscow on Monday, after Russian officials visited Ankara last weekend, but no concrete agreement was reached.

Turkey and Russia have worked closely in Syria in recent years despite being on opposite sides of the nine-year conflict.

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