News ID: 231374
Published: 0333 GMT September 14, 2018

Turkey ‘talking to all sides’ in Syria conflict for Idlib cease-fire

Turkey ‘talking to all sides’ in Syria conflict for Idlib cease-fire

Turkey said on Friday it was talking to all parties in the Syrian conflict to prevent a government offensive on Idlib ahead of talks between Russian and Turkish presidents, who support rival sides in the looming battle for the terrorist-held region.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey had also contacted foreign ministers of several countries and was in touch with "all actors in Syria", Reuters reported.

"We are making an effort for a cease-fire in Idlib," he said, repeating Turkey's call for targeted operations against terrorists, including the Tahrir al-Sham alliance, instead of an indiscriminate onslaught.

"We are ready to cooperate with everyone to fight terrorist organizations. But killing everyone – civilians, women, children – like this in the name of fighting terrorist organizations is not right and is not humane," he said on a visit to Pakistan.

Ankara failed last week to win agreement for a cease-fire from Russia and Iran  but there has been a recent lull in airstrikes and a pro-Damascus source indicated a ground attack may not be imminent.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will hold talks in Russia on Monday with Vladimir Putin to discuss the Syrian crisis, 10 days after similar talks in Tehran, Turkish and Russian officials said.

Despite the deadlock at the Iran meeting, calm has largely prevailed in northwest Syria this week following a wave of airstrikes which killed several dozen people and generated speculation of an imminent ground offensive.

Terrorists also said some pro-government forces had left frontlines in northwest Syria in recent days.

Turkey has reinforced a dozen military posts inside the Idlib region, which lies across its southern border and is controlled by Turkey-backed militants and terrorists, trying to forestall a government assault.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said calm mostly prevailed again on Friday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow would keep bombing terrorist targets in Idlib if need be, but would also open humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to flee.

Lavrov said the Russian air force would strike terrorist weapons-making facilities as and when it found out about them, but would also encourage local reconciliation deals.

Putin also discussed the situation Idlib with members of Russia's Security Council on Friday, telling them he was concerned by terrorist activity there.



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