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Turkey to Russia: Syrian army has to withdraw or we’re starting military actions

ANKARA, (BM) – Turkey in negotiations with Russia in Moscow insisted on the withdrawal of the Syrian army from the Idlib de-escalation zone, otherwise Ankara could resort to military action, said Omer Celik, spokesman for the Turkish ruling Justice and Development Party, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

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“During the negotiations on Idlib in Moscow, our delegation clearly and clearly conveyed to the opposite side that if the regime’s forces do not depart from the borders indicated in the Sochi agreement, then our military forces are ready (to begin the operation),” Celik told reporters in Ankara.

The first stage of Russian-Turkish talks took place last week in Ankara amid escalation of tension in northwestern Syria. The interdepartmental Russian delegation included the President’s Special Representative for the Syrian Settlement Alexander Lavrentiev and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Defense.

The Turkish delegation is led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal. The second stage of negotiations was held in Moscow on Monday and Tuesday.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Turkey was unable to fulfill several key commitments to solve the problems around Syrian Idlib.

In particular, it did not dissociate the armed opposition, which is ready for dialogue with the government in the framework of the political process, from the terrorists Jebhat al-Nusra, which has turned into Heyyat Tahrir al-Sham. In turn, the vice-president of Turkey Fuat Oktay made a statement that she had fulfilled her obligations under Idlib.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier that he had called on his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to put pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stop the offensive in the Idlib province and withdraw from Turkish observation posts by the end of February, otherwise threatening with a military response.

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In accordance with the agreement reached in May 2017 at the talks in Astana (now Nur-Sultan) by representatives of Russia, Iran and Turkey, four de-escalation zones were created in Syria. The territory of three of them in 2018 came under the control of Damascus.

The fourth zone, located in the province of Idlib and parts of the neighboring provinces of Latakia, Hama and Aleppo, is still not subject to the government of the republic.

Moreover, most of it was captured by terrorists from the Jebhat al-Nusra organization. In September 2018, Russia and Turkey agreed in Sochi to create a demilitarized zone in Idlib.

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