Ankara not seeking \"face-off\" with Russia: Defence Min.

Turkish Defence Minister Akar said Ankara and Moscow have "healthy dialogue" on the ground, adding that his country did not seek to "face-off" with Russia over growing tensions in Syria’s Idlib.

Iran PressMiddle East: Hulusi Akar said on Thursday that NATO members may send Patriot missile systems to Turkey to use in northwestern Syria's Idlib region.

Speaking in an interview with broadcaster CNN Turk, the Turkish defense minister said talks with the United States on purchasing Patriot systems were also continuing, TRT reported.

The biggest problem between Turkey and the US is Washington's support to the YPG/PKK terror group, Akar said.

He added that Turkey will activate the S-400 missile systems which it has bought from Russia and there should be "no doubt" about this.

What Turkey wants in Idlib is the Sochi agreement to be applied and refuses any revisal of the agreement, Akar said.

Back in 2018, Moscow and Ankara reached an agreement with Iran’s mediation, called ‘Sochi agreement’, that comprised setting up a de-militarization zone mainly situated in northern Idlib.

However, the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, which is the dominant terrorist outfit in the province, along with other militant groups and those supported by Ankara, have been launching attacks on army and civilian targets from the buffer zone, where Turkish outposts have been settled to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire there.

Russia urges Turkey to stop “supporting terrorists” in northern Syria

In another development on Thursday, Russia called on Turkey to stop “supporting terrorists” in northern Syria, as Russian warplanes carried out airstrikes against Turkey-backed militants and Syrian army troops repelled an attack by terror outfits in Idlib province.

“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 in a statement on Thursday, blaming Ankara for supporting some militias by firing artillery as they carried out an attack.

Elsewhere in the statement on Thursday, the Russian defense ministry said that Turkey’s artillery support, helped militants briefly broke through government defenses in Idlib.

However, according to Syria’s official SANA news agency, the Syrian Army repelled the attack, saying that militants had launched their attack using mortar shells and rocket launchers.

Russia’s air cover also hit positions of the pro-Turkish militants in the two areas of Qaminas and Nayrab of Idlib province, helping the Syrian army troops to successfully carry out the counterattack.

Meanwhile, Russian Presidential Envoy for Middle Eastern Affairs and Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, has talked of the possibility of a trilateral summit to be held in Tehran, between the Presidents of Iran, Russia, and Turkey to discuss the Syrian crisis in early March.

Syria has been significantly crippled by an eight-year war between pro-government troops, militants from various groups that oppose the administration of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and terrorist groups such as the Nusra Front and ISIS. The latter has lost ground in recent years due to massive operations carried out by the Syrian government.

The conflict in the country has produced an estimated 12-13 million refugees, with over 6 million internally displaced. Of the Syrians affected in one of the worst humanitarian crises on the planet - according to the United Nations - nearly half are children and require immediate and ongoing humanitarian assistance.


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