Turkey, Russia reach agreement ‘to a large extent’

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Turkish and Russian delegations, which have been holding talks for the past two days regarding the implementation of the fresh cease-fire in Idlib, have reached an agreement “to a large extent,” the Turkish defense chief has said.

A Russian military delegation arrived in the Turkish capital of Ankara on March 10 evening, for talks on the details of the ceasefire.

Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that the delegations have mostly reached an agreement, yet if the ceasefire breaks down, Turkey is ready to “start from where [it] left off.”

The minister’s remarks came during a visit to Turkey’s defense giant ASELSAN.

“Right now, attacks have halted, and the cease-fire continues. We are carefully and sensitively following the field,” he said.

The ceasefire protocol stipulates the establishment of a secure corridor 6 kilometers north and 6 km south from the M4 highway in Idlib. The parameters of the security corridor were to be completed in seven days, which expire on March 12.

According to the agreement, Turkish and Russian forces will begin patrols along the M4 highway on March 15. The patrolling will take place from the Trumba settlement, some 2 kilometers to the west of Saraqib, to the Ain-Al-Hawr settlement.

Akar said that the joint patrols are set to start on March 15, yet details are currently being discussed between Turkish and Russian officials.

Ankara wants this cease-fire to be “sustainable,” according to Akar.

“[But] if the cease-fire breaks and the attacks continue, all of our friends are tasked [on what to do]. Everyone is ready at every moment. If something like this happens, we said [to Russians] that we are ready to start from where we left off,” he underlined.

The minister also said that the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Idlib is “not in question.”

Hurriyet Daily News

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