Maintaining ceasefire in northwestern Syrian city is a significant step for securing stability in the country, says Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar.
Turkey and Russia began joint patrols in and around the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib on Friday under a deal reached last fall between the two countries.
The patrols will stretch from northern Idlib city to southern Aleppo.
The route of patrol includes six points –– Kafr Lusin and Al Dana, districts north of Idlib; Atarib town west of Aleppo city; and Qammari, Qanater and Al Eiss towns southwest of Aleppo city.
The deal last September set up a demilitarised zone in Idlib and other areas, but the Syrian regime has repeatedly violated the ceasefire in Idlib, Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said.
Maintaining the ceasefire in Idlib is a significant step for securing stability in Syria, he added.
Akar said Turkish policy towards neighbouring countries, especially Iraq and Syria, is based on their territorial and political sovereignty.
He called Turkey holding contacts with the Syrian regime "out of the question," but pointed out that Ankara has been holding talks with Moscow, and occasionally Tehran, on the situation in Syria.
TRT World's Yasin Eken brings more from Turkey's border city of Gaziantep.
No problem with Kurdish population
Turkey has never had any problems with the Kurdish population or other ethnicities in Syria, as its army only strikes at terrorist nests, he explained.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.