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Putin says terrorist threat should be neutralized while observing Syria's sovereignty

Russian President Vladimir Putin held telephone talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday

MOSCOW, February 20. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin considers it necessary to take effective measures to neutralize a terrorist threat in Syria while observing the country's sovereignty, the Kremlin press service said on Thursday after Putin's telephone talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"Special attention was paid to issues of settling the Syrian crisis in the context of rapidly escalating situation in Idlib as a result o aggressive actions by extremist units against Syrian government forces and civilians. The importance was underscored of preventing humanitarian consequences for civilians," the Kremlin said.

"Vladimir Putin stressed the importance of taking effective measures on neutralizing a terrorist threat while observing the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic," the Kremlin added.

Macron and Merkel expressed "readiness to facilitate decreasing tensions in Syria's north-east."

The situation in Idlib escalated at the start of February after Russian and Turkish forces made another attempt to introduce a ceasefire regime. In response, terrorists only stepped up their attacks. On February 11, the Syrian opposition with Turkey's support launched an offensive at the Syrian forces in Saraqib and Neirab in Idlib province. The Syrian army repelled the attacks.

On Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara is ready to use all of its military force in case of an operation in Idlib. He added that a military operation in Idlib is "only a matter of time.".