Erdogan urges Russia to restrain Syria regime in Idlib

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Ankara: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urges Russian President Vladimir Putin (Friday) to stop the violence by the Syrian regime in Idlib. Efforts have been made to prevent more blood from being added to the latest rebels.

Russian air strikes in the northwestern province of Idlib are fueling the Syrian government’s offensive and forcing nearly 1 million civilians to flee, the largest wave of displacement in the nine-year conflict.

“The president during the call stressed that the regime should be restrained in Idlib and that the humanitarian crisis must be stopped,” the Turkish presidency said in a statement after the two leaders spoke by phone.

Erdogan told Putin that the solution was to resume the Sochi agreement they signed in 2018, allowing Turkey to set up a military outpost on Idlib to prevent regime attacks.

The agreement is increasingly suspended as Syrian troops steadily advance the area.

Turkey, which supports some rebellious groups in the province, clashed with Syrian troops this month and lost 16 soldiers. It strengthened his attitude and called on President Bashar Assandra to return his troops.

Erdogan has also had three telephone conversations with French President Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in which he argued for “specific action to prevent a humanitarian crisis”.

Establish a safe zone

Turkey is determined to prevent the influx of new displaced persons into the 3.6 million Syrian refugees already in the country.

While Ankara threatened “urgent” action against the Syrian regime, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar inspected the troops who had assembled on Friday at the Syrian border.

Erdogan talked about establishing a “safe area” to provide shelter and support to citizens fleeing the harsh winter, and added that Turkish organizations have already built buildings in the area.

“Our work continues. We will have a discussion with Putin. I hope we will take a beneficial step with this,” he said.

Merkel and Macron also had talks with Putin on Thursday, then called for an end to the fighting and proposed a quadripartite summit with Erdogan.

A Kremlin spokesperson told reporters on Friday that “the possibility of a summit is being discussed”, but no decision has yet been made.

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