Turkish army, intelligence chiefs meet at south border
Turkey's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler, Land Forces Commander Ümit Dündar, Intelligence Chief Hakan Fidan have met at southern border province of Hatay to discuss latest developments in Syria's Idlib region.
Turkish officials met at Hatay border to discuss the latest developments in Syria's north and the efforts on maintaining the ceasefire in Idlib.
"All efforts are being made to maintain ceasefire, stability under Sochi agreement. Our close cooperation with Russia continues in this manner," Minister Akar said on Jan. 12.
Following a meeting last September in the Russian city of Sochi between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the two sides agreed to set up a demilitarized zone -- in which acts of aggression are prohibited -- in Idlib.
Ankara and Moscow also signed a memorandum of understanding calling for the “stabilization” of Idlib's de-escalation zone, in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
Under the deal, opposition groups in Idlib will remain in areas in which they are already present, while Russia and Turkey will conduct joint patrols in the area with a view to preventing renewed fighting.
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.