Erdoğan urges Putin to restrain Assad regime in rebel-held Idlib
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan exchanged views with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over the latest developments in a border region of Syria battered by the Assad regime and its allies in a Friday evening phone call. In phone call, Turkish president told Putin that Assad regime must show restraint in Idlib, and humanitarian crisis must end, according to the presidential sources.
Erdoğan urged his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during a phone call to stop the Syrian regime's offensive in the last rebel stronghold of Idlib, his office said.
"The president during the call stressed that the regime should be restrained in Idlib and that the humanitarian crisis must be stopped," the Turkish presidency said in a statement after the two leaders spoke.
It said Erdoğan also told Putin that full implementation of an agreement reached in Sochi, Russia in 2018 would bring an end to fighting in the rebel-controlled area.
The presidency's readout of the phone call did not cite any new deal between the two countries on developments in Syria.
Idlib, near Turkey's southern border, falls within a de-escalation zone laid out in a deal between Turkey and Russia in late 2018.
The Syrian regime and its allies, however, have consistently broken the terms of the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the territory where acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
The de-escalation zone is currently home to about 4 million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces throughout the war-torn country.
Some 1 million Idlib refugees have moved towards the Turkish border in recent months, fleeing attacks by the Assad regime and its allies, and causing a desperate humanitarian situation.
Turkey has called for an immediate halt to the attacks on Idlib, and for the cease-fire to be followed, warning that if the attacks do not stop Turkey will take action.
In the call, the two leaders also discussed developments in Libya, where renegade commander Khalifa Haftar's forces continue to attack the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: Haftar in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the UAE, and the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, which enjoys the UN and international recognition.
Libya's legitimate government has been under attack by Haftar's forces since last April, and more than 1,000 people have been killed in the violence.