Turkish, Russian defense ministers discuss Idlib

Turkish, Russian defense ministers discuss Idlib
Turkish and Russian defense ministers held a phone conversation on Tuesday (March 10) to discuss the situation in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib.

Hulusi Akar and Sergey Shoygu exchanged views on ways to achieve a permanent cease-fire among conflict parties in Idlib, according to the Turkish National Defense Ministry.

They also discussed how to establish the conditions for more than 1 million displaced people, 81% of whom are women and children, to return their homes, said Turkish Defense Ministry in a statement.

The fulfilment of obligations under the agreements, and continuation of efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region were also emphasized during the conversation, according to the ministry.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed last week to a new cease-fire for Idlib effective as of midnight on March 5.

Under the agreement, all military activities are to end in Idlib with the establishment of a security corridor 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) to the north and south of the key M4 highway.

Joint Turkish-Russian patrols will also begin on March 15 along the M4 highway from the settlement of Trumba -- 2 km (1.2 miles) to the west of Saraqib -- to the settlement of Ain al-Havr, according to the deal.

Meanwhile, a meeting between Turkish and Russian military delegations started on Tuesday in the Turkish capital Ankara.

"Under the agreement reached on March 5 in Moscow, meeting of Turkish and Russian military delegations started at the National Defense Ministry," Turkey's National Defense Ministry said on Twitter.

Turkey launched Operation Spring Shield on Feb. 27 after at least 34 Turkish soldiers were killed last month in an Assad regime airstrike in Idlib province, and after repeated violations of previous cease-fires.

Based on AA

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