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15 Feb, 2020 12:37

Turkey warns it will take action over Idlib flare-up if diplomacy fails

Turkey warns it will take action over Idlib flare-up if diplomacy fails

Ankara seeks a diplomatic resolution to an uptick in fighting in Idlib, Syria, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said, but it is prepared to take other steps if talks with Russia fall through.

A Turkish delegation will arrive in Moscow on Monday to hold talks over the crisis in Idlib, Cavusoglu told reporters during the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. The senior Turkish diplomat said he will also meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Ankara is “working to maintain diplomacy” regarding the situation in Idlib, Cavusoglu claimed, while warning that necessary steps will be taken if negotiations in Moscow fail to produce results. Idlib remains the last terrorist enclave in Syria. The area has been declared a ‘de-escalation zone’ under an agreement between Russia and Turkey.

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In recent weeks the region has seen a rise in hostilities. Earlier this month, several Turkish personnel in Idlib were killed by Syrian shelling; Ankara responded with retaliatory attacks.

Moscow has insisted that the strikes occurred as Turkish troops were moved without prior warning, and has accused Ankara of failing to clear the ‘de-escalation zone’ of jihadist groups.

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