Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu is scheduled to meet with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar in Ankara today (11 February) to discuss the current situation in Syria.
Idlib will be on the top of the agenda, according to a source cited by the Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency.The meeting comes just before a planned summit on Syria between Turkey, Russia and Iran on Thursday in Sochi.Turkey is pushing for establishing a “safe zone” in northern Syrian territories where is now under the control of the Kurdish forces. It insists on involvement in the buffer zone to secure its southern borders.However, the US has warned Ankara to avoid any harm to Washington’s Kurdish allies.
Shoygu got quite the greeting in Turkey
Russian Defense Minister, Sergey Shoygu is welcomed with a military ceremony by National Defence Minister of Turkey, Hulusi Akar (L) in Ankara, Turkey on February 11, 2019.
Turkey's National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Monday met his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu in the Turkish capital Ankara.
Akar and Shoigu chaired talks with delegations at the Defense Ministry. The Turkish minister expressed his pleasure at hosting Shoigu.
"Turkey is talking with Russia at all levels to restore peace and stability in the region and protect interests of both countries," Akar said.
He also said that efforts to boost bilateral relations are "valuable" and will contribute to peace and regional stability."Beyond that, I believe that this will indeed contribute to world peace," Akar added.
The meetings in Ankara will be preliminary work of the planned summit on Syria between the leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran in the Russian coastal city of Sochi on Thursday, Akar added.
At the fourth meeting in the Astana format, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani will concentrate on the long-term settlement of the Syrian crisis.
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 stabilization 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.The Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement that the two sides discussed the latest situation in Syria during their meeting, including measures to ensure security in the demilitarized zone in Idlib despite provocations.
Turkey and Russia also agreed on intelligence and military cooperation to ensure peace and security.
It added that the ministers have mutual understanding of Turkey's security concerns regarding PKK/YPG and Daesh terrorist organizations in east of the Euphrates River.
Beside the US increase in bombing in Syria this last little while, it seems Britain joined in with the ethnic cleansing:
British bombing in Syria reaches record high
BRITAIN carried out a record number of air strikes in Syria during the last month of 2018, despite mounting concerns over civilian casualties and costs.
New data obtained by research group Drone Wars has “laid bare” the scale of British bombing in the region.
The group found that Britain dropped 75 bombs over Syria in December, as planes and drones stepped up their attack on the last Isis stronghold.
It was the most intense month of aerial bombardment last year, bringing the annual total to 464 munitions from 225 separate raids.
And while the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has published the number of air strikes, it is much more secretive about civilian casualties, causing concern about who was caught in the crossfire.
Campaign group Stop the War said the new data “marks an astonishing increase in strikes in Syria.”
Its convener, Lindsey German, said: “These were supposedly against Isis, which all sides agree has been much weakened in recent months.
“The concern must be that many casualties from these strikes will be civilians.
“There is neither monitoring of death and injury by the Ministry of Defence, nor is there any coverage of these attacks by media in this country.
“Parliament voted for these interventions but doesn’t bother to discuss or assess the consequences.”