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Russian, US top brass discuss situation in Syria in phone call

The most recent conversation of the two generals was on December 18, 2019

MOSCOW, February 28./TASS/. Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, General Valery Gerasimov, and Mark Milley, United States Army general and Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, discussed the situation in Syria in a phone call on Friday, the Russian Defense Ministry reported.

"The sides exchanged opinions on the situation in Syria and on other issues of mutual interest," the ministry added.

The most recent conversation of the two generals was on December 18, 2019, when they discussed measures to prevent incidents during military activity of the sides. Gerasimov and Milley also exchanged opinions on strategic stability, the situation in Syria and in other regions.

The situation in Idlib deteriorated dramatically once again overnight to Friday. Ankara said that an airstrike by Syrian government forces had killed 33 Turkish soldiers. Shortly after that, the Turkish armed forces carried out strikes against Syrian troops, specifying that more than 200 targets had been hit.

Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that militants from the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (one of the names of Jabhat al-Nusra, outlawed in Russia) made an attempt on Thursday to launch a large-scale offensive in Syria’s Idlib. The Turkish military servicemen who came under fire from Syrian troops were among the advancing militants, it added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a phone call on Friday to discuss the developments. They emphasized the need to normalize the situation and agreed to look into the possibility of having a summit meeting shortly.