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Turkey delegation due in Russia to talk Idlib, Syria

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (L) attend the opening ceremony of TurkStream natural gas pipeline project in Istanbul, Turkey on 8 January 2020 [Mustafa Kamacı/Anadolu Agency]
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (L) attend the opening ceremony of TurkStream natural gas pipeline project in Istanbul, Turkey on 8 January 2020 [Mustafa Kamacı/Anadolu Agency]

A Turkish delegation will soon visit Russia to discuss the situation in Idlib, a section of northwestern Syria where a cease-fire is under siege, Turkey’s top diplomat said Wednesday, Anadolu Agency reported.

Following Wednesday’s telephone conversation between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, a Turkish delegation “will visit Moscow. [Earlier,] a Russian delegation visited Ankara twice and held meetings” on Idlib, said Mevlut Cavusoglu in Albania.

“We continue to work with Russia to ensure that the cease-fire is permanent. But even if there is no result from this process, our determination is obvious. We will do what is needed,” said Cavusoglu, who spoke alongside his Albanian counterpart, Gent Cakaj, in the capital of Tirana.

Attacks by the Assad regime in Idlib in the last two weeks martyred a dozen Turkish military personnel. Turkey responded in force, killing 200 Assad regime troops, and Ankara vowed that no attack will be left unanswered.

“The UN Humanitarian Coordination Office announced that 400 civilians have died since December 1, and 700,000 people fled their homes in the past two months,” said Cavusoglu, as he stressed the impact attacks by Assad and Russia have had on residents in Idlib.

READ: Russia delegation leaves Turkey without reaching an agreement on Idlib

Half of the civilians are children, struggling to survive under difficult conditions in the middle of winter, he said.

A Sochi agreement between Turkey and Russia on Idlib is still in effect, he added, despite a number of flaws.

Turkish troops in Idlib are there 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 the regime and Russian forces since, flouting a 2018 cease-fire and a new one that began January 12.

READ: US hits Syria regime military bases in Hasakah

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