Turkey to send more troops to Syria's Idlib to ensure safety of region

"We will continue the deployment and fortification of in the area to ensure the safety of the region (Idlib) and the civilians there," Turkish Presidential spokesman said in his comments to reporters in the capital Ankara on Tuesday.

Turkey will deploy more troops to Syria's Idlib region and retaliate against attacks by the Assad regime forces there, even as Ankara continues to discuss the situation with Moscow, Turkish Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalın said on Tuesday.

A Turkish delegation met Russian counterparts for a second day of talks in Moscow on Tuesday, with no apparent agreement on Idlib, where a push in recent weeks by Russian-backed Assad regime forces led to mass displacement of civilians.

"We will continue the deployment and fortification of troops in the area to ensure the safety of the region (Idlib) and the civilians there," Kalın stressed in his comments.

"Returning to the Sochi deal is the baseline of Turkey's policy for Idlib," Kalın told reporters after a Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin signed the deal on Sept. 17, 2018 based on which both sides agreed to set up a demilitarized zone -- in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited -- in Idlib.

The regime and Russian attacks were paused momentarily after the deal and almost 80,000 displaced Syrians returned to their homes. But the regime forces and its ally Russia, resumed their attacks on residential areas in a blatant violation.

More than 1,800 civilians have since been killed due to artillery fires and airstrikes.

Kalın said changing the location of Turkey's military observation posts in Idlib is "out of question", adding that Ankara will continue military support and dispatches to safeguard Idlib and the civilians.

He warned of a resounding response in case of a fresh attack on Turkish soldiers "as we did in the last few weeks".

Regarding a meeting in Moscow between Turkish and Russian delegations on Idlib, Kalın said no breakthrough was reached, adding that Turkey rejected proposed documents and maps by Russia.

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