05:22 GMT29 January 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Turkish observation posts in the Syrian province of Idlib are ready to respond to any possible attack, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Sunday.

    "In no way will we evacuate 12 observation points heroically carrying out their mission of ensuring the cease-fire; we are not going to leave," Akar was quoted by the Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency.

    Turkish troops have been ordered to respond without hesitation if they were attacked, the media outlet added.

    Earlier in the week, media reported that the Turkish observation post near ​​the village of Alsurman in Idlib was surrounded by the Syrian army. A similar case was reported in August, in the Syrian village of Morek. There is a total of 12 Turkish observation posts operating in the province.

    Russian President V. Putin Meets with Turkish President R. T. Erdogan
    © Sputnik / Ramil Sitdikov
    Russian President V. Putin Meets with Turkish President R. T. Erdogan

    Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, signed the Idlib demilitarization agreement in Russia's Sochi on 17 September 2018. The deal stipulated the complete withdrawal of radical groups from the demilitarized zone and civilian access through the M4 and M5 highways.

    Idlib is home to an estimated 10,000 militants, according to the UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team. According to Syrian President Bashar Assad, liberating Idlib is essential to putting an end to the nation's civil conflict.

    Tags:
    Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Vladimir Putin, Syria, Turkey, Hulusi Akar
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