Middle east

Turkish, Russian leaders discuss Idlib cease-fire

Northwestern Syria

The leaders of Turkey and Russia held a phone conversation on Thursday in which they acknowledged a significant decrease in tensions in Idlib, northwestern Syria, following the cease-fire agreement reached last week.

According to a statement by the Kremlin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin discussed the implementation of the agreement announced after their meeting in Moscow on March 5.

The leaders stressed the importance of joint efforts, primarily through the Russian and Turkish defense ministries, to ensure stability in the region, the Kremlin said.

“It was agreed to continue to maintain regular dialogue at various levels, including personal contacts,” the statement added.

Later on Thursday evening, the Turkish Communications Directorate issued a statement saying the two leaders discussed recent developments in the Idlib de-escalation zone and the terms of the agreement signed last week.

The cease-fire in Idlib, which came into effect after midnight last Thursday, was agreed by Turkey and Russia after bilateral talks and meetings in Moscow that lasted over six hours.

Under the deal, all military activities were to end there, along with the establishment of a security corridor 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) to the north and south of the key M4 highway.

Joint Turkish-Russian patrols will also begin on March 15 along the highway from the settlement of Trumba – 2 km (1.2 miles) to the west of Saraqib – to the settlement of Ain al-Havr.

On Wednesday, President Erdogan warned that Turkey will respond heavily if its observation posts in Idlib are targeted.

“Turkey will do more than mere retaliation if its observation posts in Idlib are targeted,” he told ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party deputies at a meeting in the capital Ankara.

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