Germany backs Turkish, Russian efforts in Syria

By Ayhan Simsek

BERLIN (AA) – German Chancellor has pledged support for Turkey and Russia on Saturday for their joint efforts to achieve a permanent ceasefire in Syria’s Idlib province.

Speaking at a joint news conference after the four-nation summit on Syria, Angela Merkel underlined the importance of Sept. 17 agreement between Ankara and Moscow to establish a demilitarized zone in Idlib.

“Today, we have committed ourselves to do everything to achieve a sustainable, permanent ceasefire in Idlib,” she stressed.

Ankara and Moscow agreed in September to establish a demilitarized zone in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib.

Under the deal, opposition groups in Idlib are to remain in areas where they are already present, while Russia and Turkey carry out joint patrols in the area with a view to preventing a resumption of fighting.

On Oct. 10, the Turkish Defense Ministry announced that the Syrian opposition and other anti-regime groups had completed the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the Idlib demilitarized zone.

Merkel underlined that, despite their differences, the leaders of Turkey, Russia, Germany and France had “a very productive meeting” in Istanbul, and managed to reach an agreement on a joint communique, covering most important issues of the Syrian conflict.