News ID: 265950
Published: 1103 GMT February 21, 2020

Russia urges Turkey to stop supporting terrorists in Syria

Russia urges Turkey to stop supporting terrorists in Syria

Russia’s Defense Ministry on Friday said reports that hundreds of thousands of Syrians were fleeing Idlib in the direction of Turkey were false and urged Ankara to stop supporting terrorists in Syria.

The ministry issued its comments in a statement, saying it had been using drones and other resources to monitor the situation in Idlib, according to Reuters.

It also said that Turkey had brought large amounts of military hardware and ammunition into Idlib in recent weeks.

Moscow urged Turkey to stop "supporting terrorists" in Syria, saying Russian planes had carried out airstrikes against armed groups backed by Ankara.

"We urge the Turkish side, in order to avoid incidents, to cease support of the actions of terrorists and handing them arms," the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said on Friday Russia is discussing the possibility of holding a summit on Syria with the presidents of Turkey, France and Germany.

The Kremlin made the comments after the leaders of Germany and France called Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to express their concern about the humanitarian situation in Syria’s Idlib region, urging an end to the conflict there.

“The possibility of holding a summit is being discussed. There any no firm decisions about it yet. (But) if all the four leaders deem it necessary, we do not rule out the possibility of such a meeting,” Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

Turkey said Thursday it wanted no "face off" with Russia over its Syrian ally's months-long offensive against Turkish-backed rebels in northwest Syria.

Earlier on Thursday, Turkey blamed a Syrian airstrike for the deaths of two of its soldiers in Idlib.

It brings the number of Turkish personnel killed by Syrian forces this month to 16. Five others were wounded on Thursday, the defense ministry said

"We have no intentions of a face-off with Russia," Turkey's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told CNN Turk broadcaster, adding talks would continue with Russian officials.

One of the issues being discussed is the airspace above Idlib and Turkey's expectations for Russia not to get involved, Akar said.

There has been no concrete agreement between Russia and Turkey after two rounds of talks between their respective delegations in Ankara and Moscow earlier this month.

Ankara insists that it wants to avoid a humanitarian disaster but also wants to avoid flow of refugees into Turkey, which is already home to 3.6 million Syrians.

Turkey has 12 observation posts in Idlib Province, set up after a deal signed with Russia in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in 2018.

Despite being on opposing sides, Turkey and Russia have worked in the past to find diplomatic solutions to the conflict, but recent talks over the Idlib offensive have failed to yield results.

Idlib is held by an array of terrorists dominated by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) group, which is led by members of the country's former Al-Qaeda franchise.




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