Turkey, Russia starting patrols around Idlib, Syria
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
“Today, Russia will begin patrols in the border area outside of Idlib while Turkish Armed Forces patrols will start in the demilitarized zone," Hulusi Akar told Anadolu Agency's Editors' Desk.
Maintaining the cease-fire in Idlib is a significant step for securing stability in Syria, he said.
After repeated efforts to buy missile defense from the U.S., and finding no success, in 2017 Ankara decided to buy the Russian S-400 systems.
The move was criticized by the Pentagon, which warned that purchasing the S-400 would hurt Turkish-U.S. ties as well as Turkey's role in NATO. U.S. officials also said U.S. Patriots might serve as an alternative.
Contacts with Syrian regime 'out of the question'
Akar also said Turkish policy towards neighboring countries, especially Iraq and Syria, is based on their territorial and political sovereignty.
He called Turkey holding contacts with the Syrian regime "out of the question," but pointed out that Ankara has been holding talks with Moscow and occasionally Tehran on the situation in Syria.
Turkey has never had any problems with the Kurdish population or other ethnicities in Syria, as its army only strikes at terrorist nests, he explained.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.