Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu agree on intelligence and military cooperation in restive Idlib to ensure peace in the region.
Russia and Turkey agreed on Monday that they needed to take "decisive measures" to stabilise the situation in Syria's Idlib, RIA news agency reported, with the Russian defence minister underlining that Ankara and Moscow have done a "significant job" in the province.
The joint statement was released after talks between Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu in Ankara ahead of a Syrian summit between the leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran in Russia on Thursday.
Monday's statement spoke of "the need, in particular, to take decisive measures to ensure security in the Idlib demilitarised zone."
"Despite provocations, we underlined the importance and need to continue partnerships between our two countries' intelligence and military forces to establish peace and to support stability in Idlib," it said.
It is remarkable how the Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu was warmly welcomed today in the Turkish capital Ankara by the Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar. Although both nations have many problems in Syria, they seem to be looking for a friendly and confidential solution pic.twitter.com/kr2yZLi0Uh— Ali Özkök (@Ozkok_) February 11, 2019
Restoration of peace
Russia, one of the Syrian regime's staunchest allies, and Turkey brokered a deal in September to create a demilitarised zone in the northwest Idlib region that would be free of all heavy weapons and militants.
The deal helped avert a regime assault on the region, the last major bastion of opponents of regime leader Bashar al Assad.
"Turkey is talking with Russia at all levels to restore peace and stability in the region and protect interests of both countries," Akar said.
Akar said that efforts to boost bilateral relations are "valuable" and will contribute to peace and regional stability.
Shoigu thanked Akar for the warm reception and recalled that military experts from both sides met in Moscow earlier this month to talk about "the most important issues for the Syrian settlement regarding further stabilisation in the Idlib zone and everything that concerns the eastern bank of the Euphrates."
"I hope that today, we will be able to come to an agreement on the key issues," Shoigu said.