Turkish, Russian officials to discuss Syria in Ankara

ANKARA

Russian defense minister will arrive in Turkey on Monday to discuss Syria with his Turkish counterpart, according to Turkish National Defense Ministry sources.

Russia’s Sergey Shoygu will pay a visit to the capital Ankara upon the invitation of Turkey’s Hulusi Akar, said the sources, speaking anonymously due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

The two ministers are expected to discuss latest developments in Syria, particularly in Idlib, before a planned summit on Syria between Turkey, Russia and Iran in the Russian resort city of Sochi on Thursday.

Last September in Russia’s resort city of Sochi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to establish the Idlib de-escalation zone.

The following month saw all heavy weapons withdrawn from the de-escalation zone by Syrian opposition and anti-regime groups.

Nevertheless, according to the White Helmets, at least 30 people in Idlib were killed in January, including women and children, while another 180 were injured — in Idlib, Hama and Latakia — by regime drone attacks and artillery fire.

Last month also saw the regime targeting Idlib’s southeastern countryside, along with rural parts of the Aleppo, Latakia and Hama provinces.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected severity.

Source: AA