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Turkey expects Russia to stop Damascus military operations in Idlib – FM Cavusoglu

Turkey expects Russia to stop Damascus military operations in Idlib – FM Cavusoglu
Ankara expects Moscow to apply pressure on Damascus to cease military operations in the contested province of Idlib, Turkey’s foreign minister said after a deadly incident in which Turkish troops were killed.

A Russian delegation will soon visit Turkey to discuss the development in the northwestern Syrian governorate, the last bastion of anti-government forces, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday. If necessary, a personal meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin will follow, he added.

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Erdogan on Wednesday demanded that Damascus pull back its forces from Turkish outposts in Idlib by the end of the month, threatening to use force otherwise. The ultimatum comes after an incident in which several Turkish troops were killed in the area after a convoy came under Syrian artillery fire. Moscow said the clash occurred due to the failure of the Turkish side to warn about the movement of their troops.

Cavusoglu said Turkey and Russia will discuss ways to resolve the situation and ultimately ensure a lasting ceasefire. Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Ankara failed to separate the “armed opposition” from terrorists in Idlib.

Moscow blamed the terrorist forces, which have no intention of working towards peace, for the continued violence in northwestern Syria, saying that Damascus has no choice but to fight the militants conducting raids out of Idlib.

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