Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and his US counterpart Mark Esper have met in Brussels where they agreed to take concrete steps in Syria.

Internally displaced Syrians from western Aleppo countryside, ride on a tractor with belongings past Turkish military vehicles in Hazano near Idlib, Syria, February 11, 2020.
Internally displaced Syrians from western Aleppo countryside, ride on a tractor with belongings past Turkish military vehicles in Hazano near Idlib, Syria, February 11, 2020. (Reuters)

Turkish and US defence ministers discussed on Wednesday the situation in Syria and Iraq on the sidelines of NATO defence ministers meeting in Brussels.

Hulusi Akar and Mark Esper agreed that NATO and the US should take more concrete steps in the region, during the closed-door meeting.

Prior to the main meeting, Akar expressed content with statements by US officials regarding Idlib.

Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar gestures as he talks to US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper at a NATO defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 12, 2020.
Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar gestures as he talks to US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper at a NATO defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 12, 2020. (Reuters)

At least five Turkish troops were martyred and five injured in an attack by Assad regime forces in Idlib in Syria earlier this week.

That followed last week’s attack by regime forces in Idlib which martyred seven Turkish soldiers and one civilian contractor working with the Turkish military. It also injured more than a dozen people.

In retaliation, Turkey has killed more than 200 Assad regime military personnel since last week.

US should stop arming YPG/PKK

Turkish Deputy Defence Minister Yunus Emre Karaosmanoglu on Wednesday stressed upon US envoy on Syria James Jeffrey that Washington should stop providing weapons to the YPG/PKK terror group.

He also stressed during the meeting that all countries should provide concrete support to stop the humanitarian crisis in Idlib otherwise, a new refugee influx will go beyond Turkish borders.

US stands by Turkey

The US stands with its NATO ally Turkey, the US special envoy for Syria said on Wednesday over the latest developments in Syria, according to diplomatic sources.

James Jeffrey arrived in Turkey on Tuesday to meet Turkish officials and reevaluate the recent developments in the region.

During his meeting with Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal, Jeffrey also extended condolences for the Turkish troops killed by the regime attacks in Idlib.

Onal, for his part, stressed the importance of implementing Astana and Sochi deals in the region.

The parties evaluated the humanitarian crisis and the latest developments in Idlib and they highlighted that international communities should play an active role.

Turkish troops are in Idlib as part of an anti-terror and peace mission.

Idlib has been a stronghold of the opposition and anti-government armed groups since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

But more than 1,800 civilians have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces since, flouting a 2018 ceasefire and a new one that began January 12.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies