Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made a phone call to Russian president Vladimir Putin to discuss ceasefire violations by militants operating in Idlib de-escalation zone in Syria, Kremlin said.
"[The leaders] continued the thorough exchange of opinions about key issues of the crisis situation in Syria with a focus on the situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone in light of the increased number of ceasefire violations by radical armed groups," the statement said.
Putin and Erdogan also discussed urgent issues of the biltareal political, trade and economic relations, as well as some international problems.
"[The parties] agreed to continue intense contacts," the statement said.
Meanwhile, Communications Director at the Turkish Presidential Administration Fahrettin Altun said that Erdogan voiced concern over the recent escalation of tensions in the Syrian province of Idlib during the phone conversation.
"During the phone conversation with Putin, Erdogan pointed out that the Syrian regime’s [government] ceasefire violations in the Idlib de-escalation zone became highly concerning. The attacks on civilians, schools and hospitals cannot be justified by the struggle with terrorism," Altun wrote on his Twitter page. He accused the Syrian government of trying to undermine the Russian-Turkish cooperation on Idlib.
Yesterday, the head of the Russian Defence Ministry's Centre for Syrian Reconciliation, Maj. Gen. Viktor Kupchishin reported that illegal armed groups had bombarded four settlements in Latakia province within the Idlib de-escaltion zone.
Over the past two weeks, terrorists have reportedly increased the number of shelling attacks on the Syrian provinces of Hama, Aleppo and Latakia. They have also been attempting to attack the positions of the Syrian army in the region. The government forces have responded by boosting their attacks on terrorists in the province of Idlib. The Syrian forces are targeting depots, artillery positions and observation posts of the al-Nusra Front terrorist group.
Russia, Turkey and Iran are the guarantors of the ceasefire in the conflict-affected Syria. Russia carries out humanitarian operations across the country on a regular basis and helps Damascus in providing safe passage for the return of Syrian refugees.
*al-Nusra Front is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.