ANKARA, February 8. /TASS/. Russian and Turkish officials have reached a decision on Saturday to continue negotiation over Syria’s Idlib in the coming week, the Turkish Foreign Ministry told reporters on Saturday.
"At the talks, the delegations discussed the situation in Idlib. In focus were the steps that are likely to be taken to ensure truce on the ground and to promote the political process. A decision was taken to continue the talks next week," the foreign ministry said.
The Foreign Ministry said that Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Sedat Onal headed the Turkish delegation, while Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin and Russian Presidential Special Representative for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev led the Russian delegation. The talks were also attended by high-ranking officials of the two countries’ Defense Ministries, General Staffs and intelligence services.
The two-round talks were held in the Turkish capital and lasted at least three hours.
An escalation in Idlib has prompted talks between Russian and Turkish officials. The Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier that the Russian and Turkish militaries had again attempted to declare a ceasefire, but terrorists just stepped up their attacks. As a result, Russian and Turkish military officials were killed. In response, the Syrian army launched a counterattack against extremists, seizing the town of Saraqib outside Idlib on February 5.
Idlib is the only Syrian region that has been controlled by illegal armed groups since 2012. A northern de-escalation zone was set up in Idlib in 2017 to give shelter to militants who refused to surrender arms in Eastern Ghouta and Syria’s southern regions.