ISTANBUL: A Russian delegation will arrive in Turkey on Saturday for talks aiming to stop the Syrian government’s “aggression” and halt a humanitarian catastrophe in Syria’s northwest Idlib region, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday.
Cavusoglu repeated Turkey would do whatever is necessary to stop a humanitarian tragedy in Idlib, where on Thursday Russian-led Syrian forces entered the strategic town of Saraqeb in a push to capture the country’s last rebel stronghold.
Meanwhile, a Turkish security source said the country has no plans to withdraw troops from observation posts in Syria’s northwest Idlib region even though three of the posts are in areas now controlled by the Syrian government.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to drive back Syrian troops in Idlib unless they withdrew by the end of the month, after eight Turkish soldiers were killed on Monday by Syrian government shelling near the town of Saraqeb.
The source said there were “no problems” with Turkish military personnel in Saraqeb and added each of the observation posts in Idlib were equipped to defend themselves.
The source said joint patrols by Turkish and Russian troops in a swathe of northern Syria along Turkey’s border to the east had been postponed due to weather conditions, not over the attacks in Idlib.