Turkish delegation to visit Russia for talks on Idlib: Cavusoglu

Alaturka Politika Haberleri

By Talha Ozturk

BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – A Turkish delegation will visit Russia in the coming days to discuss situation in Idlib, northwestern Syria, Turkey’s top diplomat said on Wednesday.

"Today, [Turkish] President [Recep Tayyip Erdogan] has held a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This time, our delegation will visit Moscow. [Earlier,] a Russian delegation visited Ankara twice and held meetings," Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

“We continue to work with Russia to ensure that the cease-fire is permanent. But even if there is no result in this process, our determination is obvious. We will do what is needed," he said.

Visiting Turkish official’s remarks came in a joint news conference with his Albanian counterpart Gent Cakaj in the capital Tirana.

On Monday, five Turkish troops were martyred and five injured in an attack by Assad regime forces in Idlib, following a similar attack last week martyring seven soldiers and a civilian contractor working with the Turkish military.

The Turkish troops are in Idlib — nominally a cease-fire zone, under a deal between Turkey and Russia — as part of an anti-terror and peace mission.

Turkey has since retaliated for both attacks, hitting scores of targets and killing some 200 Assad regime troops.

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 regime and Russian forces since then, flouting both the 2018 cease-fire and a new one that started on Jan. 12.

Earlier, Cavusoglu attended the opening ceremony of the Balkan Research Center.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Cavusoglu said that this center will make in-depth studies on the Balkan history, literature, culture and policies.