Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has underlined the importance of containing the Syrian Arab Army in Idlib province and preventing a humanitarian disaster, the Turkish presidential administration said on Friday following Erdogan’s phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Russian President expressed his serious concern over aggressive steps taken by extremist groups in Idlib.
“The talks focused again on the situation in Idlib de-escalation zone. Vladimir Putin expressed significant concerns over the continuing aggression of extremist groups. The need for unconditional respect for Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity was stressed,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
The two heads of state confirmed their commitment to all previous agreements on Syria. In particular, Erdogan stressed that the implementation of the Sochi agreements is a key condition for settling the crisis in northwestern Syria.
Earlier the same day, Erdogan said that Turkey would not withdraw from Idlib Province as long as Syrian government forces continue to press on with their ‘violent onslaught’.
“According to the latest data, we have neutralised 150 ‘regime elements’, destroyed 12 tanks, three armoured vehicles, 14 howitzers and two pickup trucks. We will not pull out from Idlib until the regime halts its aggression against the province’s population. This is the only condition for cessation of hostilities”, Erdogan said.
Addressing the issue of Patriot air-defence systems, Erdogan said that Ankara requested the weapons systems from the Trump administration, but is still not abandoning Russia’s S-400s.
According to the Turkish president, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have proposed holding a four-way summit in Istanbul on 5 March, with the attendance of Russia, to resolve the situation in Idlib.