May 20 2019

Turkish and Russian defence ministers talk about reducing tensions in Syria's Idlib

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu spoke on Monday about reducing tensions in northern Syria's Idlib, the last major rebel enclave in the country.

"MoD Akar discussed over the phone with his Russian counterpart Shoigu regional security issues, especially the latest developments in Syria’s Idlib province and measures to be taken to reduce the tension in the area, within the scope of the Sochi agreement," the Turkish Ministry of Defence said in a tweet on Monday.

 

After a September meeting in Sochi between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the two sides agreed to set up a demilitarised zone in Idlib, in which acts of aggression were expressly prohibited.

Media reports said Russian military jets had been carrying out air strikes on Idlib simultaneously with Syrian regime warplanes since April 30, resulting in the deaths of dozens of people and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Syrians.

Turkey accused Syrian government forces of violating the Sochi agreement in a statement on Friday. Turkey's ambassador to the United Nations expressed Ankara’s fears about a major humanitarian catastrophe in Idlib at a Security Council meeting.