Turkish, Russian defense ministers discuss ceasefire breaches in Syria’s Idlib
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said he spoke with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu on the phone to discuss the recent increase in the violation of the ceasefire in Syria’s Idlib province.
“We have agreed to take measures to hold the ceasefire,” Akar told reporters at the parliament on March 25.
Turkey has recently complained to Russia about the Syrian regime’s attacks against the civilians and moderate opposition groups in Idlib in violation of Turkey-Russia protocol that was brokered in March 2020. In a recent attack, the Syrian regime targeted a hospital and border crossing from where humanitarian assistance is delivered to the Syrians in Idlib. Likewise, Russians blamed the Turkey-backed groups for an attack against the Syrian regime position in Aleppo.
Akar said he agreed with his Russian counterpart to protect the ceasefire in place and take measures to stop the violations. He described the conversation as constructive.
“There is ceasefire which needs to hold. Accordingly, a road to peace and stability should also be opened,” he said.
Turkey and Russia agreed on a protocol on March 5, 2020, to initiate a ceasefire and to observe it through a joint patrol mission on the M4 highway. Idlib is home to around 4 million Syrians and some armed jihadist terror organization. Turkey is concerned about a fresh massive humanitarian influx as a result of the Russian-Syrian military offensive in the region.
Akar also informed that more than 200 terrorists had been eliminated in anti-terror operations mostly in northern Syria since March 1.