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UPDATE 2 - Russian, Turkish talks on Idlib to continue in Moscow

UPDATE 2 - Russian, Turkish talks on Idlib to continue in Moscow
Moscow hosts fresh talks between Russian, Turkish delegations in hopes of easing tensions, says Russian foreign minister

UPDATES WITH DETAILS; CHANGES HEADLINE, LEDE; EDITS THROUGHOUT

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) - Russian and Turkish delegations discussed the tense situation in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib in Moscow on Monday.

The talks will also continue on Tuesday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement following the talks, stressing the necessity to rapidly reduce tensions and prevent further worsening of the humanitarian situation.

Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal is leading Turkey's delegation at the closed-door meeting in the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow, while Russia's Presidential Envoy for Syria Sergey Vershinin is heading the counterpart group.

Both delegations include diplomats, as well as representatives of military and intelligence services.

Earlier on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters that Moscow hopes the meeting would contribute to de-escalating the tensions.

"All the facts are on the table. Military representatives of both the Russian Federation and Turkey, who are on the ground in Syria, in the province of Idlib, examine the changes in the situation in constant contact with each other," he said in Munich.

The two sides' militaries had a full mutual understanding, he also said, adding: "I hope they have ideas that will allow us to de-escalate this situation, basing on the agreements reached by the presidents of Russia and Turkey."

In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

But more than 1,800 civilians have been killed in attacks by regime and Russian forces since then, flouting both the 2018 cease-fire and a new one that started on Jan. 12.

source: News Feed
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