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Turkish, US presidents discuss Syria’s Idlib over phone

Turkish, US presidents discuss Syria’s Idlib over phone
Erdogan reaffirmed Turkey’s resolve to remove Syrian regime forces from area in Idlib determined by 2018 Sochi deal

By Ferdi Turkten

ANKARA (AA) - Turkish president and his U.S. counterpart spoke over the phone on Friday to discuss the recent developments in Idlib, northwestern Syria, according to a statement by the Turkish Communications Directorate.

During the phone conversation, Recep Tayyip Erdogan reaffirmed Turkey’s resolve to remove Syrian regime forces from the area in Idlib determined by the 2018 Sochi deal.

Meanwhile, the White House said Donald Trump extended condolences in the call with Erdogan over loss of lives of 33 Turkish troops in Thursday night’s attack by the Syrian regime forces.

“President Trump reaffirmed his support for Turkey’s efforts to de-escalate the situation in northwest Syria and avoid a humanitarian catastrophe,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement.

Late Thursday, at least 33 Turkish soldiers were martyred and tens of others injured in an airstrike by Assad regime forces in Idlib, just across Turkey’s southern border.

The Turkish soldiers are working to protect local civilians under a September 2018 deal with Russia under which acts of aggression are prohibited in the region.

But more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by Assad and Russian forces in the zone since then, as the cease-fire continues to be violated.

Thursday’s attack was one of a series since January on Turkish troops, with Turkish officials keeping their pledge that such assaults would not go unanswered.

The de-escalation zone is currently home to 4 million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces throughout the war-torn country.

More than 1.7 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks.

Since the eruption of the bloody civil war in Syria in 2011, Turkey has taken in some 3.7 million Syrians who fled their country, making it the world’s top refugee hosting country.

*Writing by Burak Dag

source: News Feed
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