Joint coordination centers will be established with Russia for Idlib: Minister
Turkish and Russian military delegations have agreed to establish joint coordination centers and the military activities in Idlib will be managed from these centers, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on March 13.
The Turkish and Russian military delegations have agreed on the details of a March 5 cease-fire deal for Idlib, Akar said during his visit to border troops in the southern Hatay province.
Joint patrols of Turkish and Russian troops along the key M4 highway will begin on March 15, the minister said.
“With these patrols on M4, we will make every contribution to the permanent cease-fire there,” he said. Russia was also in a positive attitude on this issue, he added.
There were “very good signs” that migration in Idlib had stopped and returns had begun, the minister noted.
Turkish and Russian officials were in talks in the capital Ankara in the past four days to clarify the details of the March 5 cease-fire.
Turkey and Russia, which back opposing sides in Syria’s war, agreed on March 5 to halt military activity in the northwestern Idlib region after an escalation of violence displaced nearly a million people and brought the two sides close to confrontation. Under the agreement, Turkish and Russian forces will carry out joint patrols along the M4 highway linking Syria’s east and west, and establish a security corridor on either side of it.
Some 59 Turkish soldiers were killed in clashes in the region since last month, but the cease-fire has largely held since March 5.
Turkish observation posts in Syria’s Idlib region will remain in place and function despite being encircled by Syrian government forces, a Turkish security official said on Friday, a week after Ankara and Moscow agreed on a cease-fire deal.
“There are no issues regarding the observation posts. There are no violations [of the cease-fire] against observation posts either,” a Turkish security official said. “These observation posts will continue to carry out their duties,” he said, adding that no heavy arms or equipment would be withdrawn from there.
Turkey set up a dozen military observation posts in the Idlib region under a 2018 agreement with Russia, but most of those are now in areas held by the Syrian government. Ankara had previously warned that it will push back Syrian forces from the area if they do not withdraw, but it has not yet done so.