04:37 GMT31 May 2020
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    ANKARA (Sputnik) - Russia and Turkey held talks in Ankara, discussing the situation in Syria's Idlib and steps to advance the political process in Syria, a spokesperson for the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

    “Ankara hosted three-hour negotiations between interdepartmental delegations led by Turkish and Russian deputy foreign ministers, Sedat Onal and Sergei Vershinin, with the participation of Russian Special Presidential Representative on Syria Alexander Lavrentyev. The delegations included representatives of the two countries' foreign ministries, military and intelligence agencies. The negotiations focused on the situation in Syria's Idlib, as well as steps to advance political process in Syria. It was decided to continue negotiations next week", the spokesperson said.

    A day earlier, the Anadolu media outlet reported that Turkey is moving its special forces to observation posts in the Idlib de-escalation zone.

    According to the agency, a convoy of 300 trucks and armoured vehicles arrived in the Hatay Province of southern Turkey. Special forces units were deployed to the border as well, it added.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on 5 February that he asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to pressure Syrian President Bashar Assad into withdrawing troops from the borders of the de-escalation zone and preventing attacks on Turkish forces in the region.

    The situation in Idlib has been tense for the past several months amid continued militant attacks on civilians and government forces in the region. It further deteriorated this week after Turkish military officers came under fire of the Syrian government forces in Idlib. In a retaliatory attack, Turkish troops struck over 50 targets and killed 76 Syrian army troops, according to Defence Minister Hulusi Akar.

    Idlib is one of four de-escalation zones created in Syria by Russia, Iran and Turkey during talks in May 2017. The province is one of the remaining militant strongholds in the country, as pockets of the region are controlled by terrorist groups.

    military, negotiations, Syria, Idlib, Turkey, Russia
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