ANKARA, March 25./TASS/. The defense ministers of Russia and Turkey, Sergei Shoigu and Hulisi Akar, had a telephone conversation on Thursday, CNN Turk reports.
According to the TV channel, "in the course of a constructive conversation, Akar "reported about violations of the memorandum of understanding [on Syrian Idlib]" and the parties "agreed to take mutual measures".
Meanwhile, on March 21, the Turkish Ministry of National Defense claimed that Ankara had informed Moscow of the need for the Syrian Armed Forces to end hostilities in Idlib. According to its statement, earlier, the Syrian troops had "delivered strikes at a hospital in al-Atarib", and also "dwelling quarters in Kaha in the Idlib de-escalation zone as well as trucks near the city of Sarmad came under missile fire." "Russia was informed for an immediate cessation of attacks," the ministry said.
On March 23, a source from the Turkish Foreign Ministry told TASS that a meeting had been held at the ministry with Russian Ambassador to Turkey Alexei Yerkhov in regard to shelling in Syria’s Idlib de-escalation area, and Ankara expressed concerns to the Russian diplomat over the situation in Idlib.
Besides, on March 24, the Russian reconciliation center urged the Turkish side to assist in the search for and punishment of those behind the shelling of residential neighborhoods in Aleppo on Sunday, March 21.
Armed opposition groups opened fire on Aleppo’s residential areas on Sunday, killing two civilians and injuring 17 others, including children. The Syrian authorities blamed the attack on pro-Turkish Syrian opposition groups based west of Aleppo and in neighboring Idlib.
A de-escalation zone was created in northwestern Syria in 2017 for those militants who had refused to lay down arms after the government army’s operations in Eastern Ghouta near Damascus and in the country’s southern regions. Ceasefire has been in effect there since March 6, 2020 following agreements achieved between Russia and Turkey. Pro-Turkish opposition groups and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists have systematically violated the ceasefire by shelling both Syrian army positions and civilian communities.