Turkish, Russian defense ministers discuss Idlib

Turkish, Russian defense ministers discuss Idlib

Turkish, Russian defense ministers discuss Idlib

Erdogan told his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in a phone call late Monday that an offensive by Assad's forces sought to "sabotage Turkish-Russian cooperation", according to Fahrettin Altun, communications director at the Turkish presidency, on Twitter. "President Erdogan stressed that growing tensions in Idlib present a threat to forming a constitutional commission and harm political settlements in Syria", the press service added.

Erdogan said that Syria's "ceasefire violations targeting the Idlib de-escalation zone over the last two weeks have reached an alarming dimension", AFP reported.

However, Turkey and Russian Federation, along with Iran, have cooperated and been heavily involved in Syria.

During the talks, Erdogan and Putin confirmed adherence to the Sochi agreements.

A phone conversation between Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and his Russian counterpart followed Turkey's Idlib diplomacy attempt on May 14. A Defense Ministry statement said that Akar and Sergey Shoigu also discussed measures to reduce tension in the area within the scope of the Sochi agreement and discussed regional security issues, as well.

Idlib's almost three million residents are supposed to be protected by a so-called "de-militarised" buffer zone through a deal signed last September by Russian Federation and Turkey that was meant to avert a fully-fledged assault on Idlib.

Swine fever spreads in Vietnam, 1.2m pigs culled
She added that the pig detected with African swine fever was imported from a farm in the southern mainland Chinese province of Guangdong.

A senior rebel commander said yesterday the offensive showed an array of rebel forces - from Turkey-backed rebels to jihadists - were still able to prevent the army from making major advances.

Syrian troops Monday captured five small villages and a hill on the edge of the northwestern province of Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold in the country, pro-government media said.

The civil war in Syria has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it started with the brutal repression of anti-government protests in 2011. The offensive by the Syrian army and its allies, backed by Russian Federation, has uprooted more than 150,000 people, the biggest escalation in the war since last summer.

Since April 28, a total of 18 health facilities have been struck, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) told Reuters on Monday. Two hospitals were hit twice.

He said it was impossible to explain it as a counterterror effort given the number of casualties and damage to health services.

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