Russian delegation to visit Turkey on Feb 26

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A Russian delegation will visit Turkey on Feb. 26 to discuss the situation in Syria‘s Idlib province, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.

Speaking to reporters before his departure to Azerbaijan, Erdoğan on Feb. 25 said that a Russian delegation is due to visit Ankara to continue Idlib talks. He also said that there is not yet a full agreement for the March 5’s four-way summit on Syria.

Russian foreign minister on Feb. 24 also said that Russia and Turkey are preparing talks on how to de-escalate fighting in Idlib.

“Now we are preparing another series of consultations, which, we hope, will lead us to an agreement on how to ensure that this is really a de-escalation zone and that the terrorists do not rule there,” Sergey Lavrov told reporters in Moscow.

“I hope that the ongoing contacts between our military and the Turkish military, with the participation of diplomats and security services, will end positively, and we will be able to make sure that terrorists do not take over this part of Syria, as, in fact, they should not take over anywhere else,” he said.

Syria has been mired in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests.

Idlib, near Turkey’s southern border, falls within a de-escalation zone laid out in a deal between Ankara and Moscow in late 2018.

Intensified attacks by the Assad regime and its allies have caused almost one million people to be displaced in the last 85 days. More than half of the displaced are children.

Ankara has called for an immediate halt to the attacks on Idlib, and for the cease-fire to be followed, warning that if the attacks do not stop, it will take action.

Turkey, already hosting over 3.6 million Syrian refugees, says it cannot take more and was hoping to create a “safe zone” along the border to resettle them but the renewed spike in violence has endangered that plan.

Hurriyet Daily News

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