Turkish, Russian defense heads discuss Idlib cease-fire

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ANKARA 

Turkey’s minister of national defense called his Russian counterpart on Thursday to look into recent events in Idlib, a northwestern province of Syria.

Hulusi Akar and Sergey Shoygu discussed recent violations of a de-escalation agreement in Idlib negotiated between Ankara and Moscow.

During the phone call, the defense chiefs decided to take mutual measures on the issue.

Akar also noted that more than 200 terrorists had been neutralized in northern Iraq and Syria since the beginning of March.

Turkish authorities use the term “neutralize” to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.

Speaking to reporters in parliament, Akar said that the phone call with Shoygu was “very constructive.”

“Our aim is that the cease-fire in the region becomes permanent and peace comes as soon as possible,” he said.

Akar underlined that Turkey wants the region to attain stability “as soon as possible.”

“On this issue, the two countries will do what’s necessary,” he said. 

Idlib has been the subject of multiple cease-fire understandings that the Assad regime and its allies have frequently violated.

On Sept. 17, 2018, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to establish a demilitarized zone in Idlib.

Ankara and Moscow also signed an additional memorandum of understanding last year calling for the “stabilization” of Idlib’s de-escalation zone, in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

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