Turkey aims to prevent conflict in Syria's Idlib: FM
The Turkish foreign minister said late Saturday Turkey aims to prevent conflict in Syria's northwestern Idlib.
"The topic on Idlib is this: We reached an agreement in Astana. Why? We want to prevent conflict in these areas. That is to say de-conflict zone," Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said, speaking to reporters in western Afyonkarahisar.
Çavuşoğlu said Astana is a platform to increase confidence building measures and end conflict.
"But now, our aim is to revive Geneva process," he added.
Turkish military deployed Saturday fully-equipped commando units as part of its reinforcements for Syria's western Idlib province along the Turkish-Syrian border.
Elements of Turkish Armed Forces, also known as TSK, will be positioned within the borders of the tension reduction zone determined for Idlib.
During a meeting in Kazakh capital Astana on May 4, the guarantor countries -- Russia, Turkey, and Iran -- signed a deal to establish de-escalation zones in Syria.
The three guarantor states, as well as representatives of the Damascus-based Assad regime and some opposition factions, met in Astana in September for a sixth round of talks aimed at ending the six-year conflict.
A December cease-fire in Syria brokered by the three countries led to the Astana talks, which are being held in parallel to UN-backed discussions in Geneva, to find a political solution to the six-year conflict.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, according to the UN.
Çavuşoğlu also said he discussed Saturday with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson northern Iraq, Syria, Idlib and some consulate issues on the phone.
"We already discuss with Rex Tillerson varied topics once in 10 days. We have a good dialogue," Çavuşoğlu said.
He added that he also spoke with the Iranian foreign minister on Saturday.