A delegation from Russia is expected to come to Turkey on Saturday for bilateral talks on the situation in the de-escalation zone in the Syrian northwestern city of Idlib, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.
“A Russian delegation, led by representatives of the Foreign Ministry, comes to Turkey,” Cavusoglu said. “We will hold talks and, if it is necessary, negotiations between the leaders of our countries may follow.”
According to Cavusoglu, “the aggression of the regime [of Syrian President Bashar Assad] continues in Idlib.”
“Turkey is ready to do everything possible to stop the humanitarian catastrophe,” the top Turkish diplomat added.
On Thursday, Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said that Turkey was expecting a military delegation from Russia to discuss recent developments in Syria.
The Russian Foreign Ministry pointed earlier to a rise of tensions in the Idlib de-escalation zone over the past few weeks. The Russian and Turkish military made another attempt to establish a ceasefire, however, terrorist attacks intensified. As a result, military specialists from Russia and Turkey were killed.
On February 5, Syrian government troops entered the town of Saraqib, an outpost of the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group (outlawed in Russia) in the Idlib province.
On February 3, Turkish troops for the first time skipped a joint patrol mission with the Russian military following an incident in the Idlib province, where Turkish forces had come under the Syrian army’s fire. The incident killed five military servicemen and three civilian personnel.
Ankara claimed to have informed the Syrian army of troop movement in advance. On the same day, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that in response to the incident, the Turkish army had carried out attacks on targets in Idlib.
The Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Sides in Syria (part of the Defense Ministry) said in a statement that Turkish forces had come under Syrian government forces’ fire because Ankara had failed to inform Russia about the movement of its troops. Terrorists retreating to Saraqib were the actual target of the Syrian army’s attacks.
Source: TASS, February 8, 2020