15:19 GMT +320 August 2019
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    Turkish soldiers stand near armoured vehicles during a demonstration in support of the Turkish army's Idlib operation near the Turkey-Syria border near Reyhanli, Hatay, on October 10, 2017

    Turkish Envoy to Russia: Ankara Comitted to Ceasefire in Syria

    © AFP 2019 / ILYAS AKENGIN
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    At a press conference in Moscow, Ankara's ambassador has shed light on his country's agenda in Syria as well as the future of Turkey's cooperation with Russia.

    Idlib Operation

    "The issue of the special zone in Idlib is being discussed" — according to the Turkish envoy to Russia, Huseyin Dirioz, Ankara has "recently set an observation post" in the embattled city and will "continue the work aimed to ensure the ceasefire regime and political settlement." 

    Ankara kicked off the military operation in northwestern Syria, aimed at ensuring the creation of the de-escalation zone and ending violence in the province of Idlib, on October 12.

    The move was met by fierce criticism from Damascus. Syria's Parliament has condemned the Turkish operation, saying it was a violation of the country's territorial integrity, and demanded the withdrawal of Ankara's troops from Idlib. Moscow, however, has repeatedly stressed that, along with Iran, Turkey plays a pivotal role "in terms of stabilizing the situation in syria".

    S-400 Deliveries to Turkey & Turkish Stream

    The initial deal on the delivery of anti-aircraft defence systems was sighed in September. Moscow has since confirmed that an up-front payment for the S-400s has been made and the delivery was scheduled for 2019.

    Huseyin Dirioz has also touched upon the Turkish Stream gas pipeline issue, saying that Ankara is satisfied with the project's implementation.

    The pipeline construction was announced in late 2014 by Vladimir Putin after the long-awaited South Stream project had been put on hold by EU and Bulgaria over Russia's reunification with Crimea.

    Prospects of Russian-Turkish Trade

    Acording to Dirioz, the turnover between Moscow and Ankara has increased by some staggering 60 percent after mutual economic restrictions were removed, though it hasn't yet returned to the previous level of $40 billion per year.

    Russian-Turkish trade has been facing significant difficulties since 2016, when Russia introduced a food embargo against Turkey in response to the 2015 downing of a Russian aircraft over Syria. The bilateral ties normalized following an apology from Turkey's president Erdogan and the food embargo was partially lifted.


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    Astana talks, S-400, trade, Astana talks on Syria, Idlib, Turkey, Syria, Russia
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