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Important understandings between Russia and Turkey over implementing Idlib agreement

Turkish Minister of Defense, Hulusi Akar announced that Turkey reached agreements with Russia over the measures to be taken in Idlib.

In press statements on Thursday, Akar added that officials of the Turkish Ministry of defense reached understandings he described as “the mission” with the Russian military delegation over Idlib. Meanwhile he threatened that the Turkish forces would resume their military operations in Idlib from the point where it had stopped in case the cease-fire agreement collapsed. Akar confirmed the persistence of the Turkish forces presence in Idlib with all their members and that the Turkish army units would stay put in the area and that withdrawal from Idlib is not on the table for Ankara.

Turkish Minister did not clarify the nature of understandings reached with the Russian military delegation. Well-informed SDC sources had earlier said that in Ankara both sides discussed the mechanism of implementing Moscow agreement signed as an additional protocol to Sochi agreement over Idlib.

According to the sources, Russian Turkish talks pivoted on the mechanism of implementing the agreement, especially the points regarding setting up a safe zone on both sides of Aleppo-Lattakia Highway known as M4. The northern part of the highway would be under the observation of the Turkish forces, whereas the southern would be under the observation of Russian forces.

Russian Turkish joint patrols would start work in March 15 upon the agreement that stipulated the highway would be open. Nusra Front and its allies take control over most of the areas around the highway, which means they would be driven away from these areas in case Turkey abided by the agreement.

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