Top Turkish, Russian diplomats discuss Libya, Syria over phone

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Turkey’s foreign minister on Aug. 20 spoke on the phone with his Russian counterpart about developments in Libya and Syria, a Turkish diplomatic source said.

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Sergey Lavrov also discussed bilateral relations, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

This March, Ankara and Moscow agreed on a protocol for the de-escalation area in Idlib, northwestern Syria, urging parties to “cease all military actions along the line of contact” there.

Under the protocol, Turkish and Russian troops also hold joint patrols in the area, near Turkey’s southern border, and this Monday, a Turkish military vehicle was slightly damaged by a terrorist attack during a joint patrol, the National Defense Ministry said.

Idlib has long been under siege by the Bashar al-Assad regime forces and its allies, and previous cease-fires for the region were plagued by violations.

Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The Government of National Accord (GNA) was founded in 2015 under a U.N.-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to a military offensive by forces loyal to warlord Khalifa Haftar.

Libya’s legitimate government has been under attack by Haftar’s forces since April 2019, and more than 1,000 people have been killed in the violence.

Haftar has the support of the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Russia, while the U.N.-recognized government is backed by Turkey.

Hurriyet Daily News

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