Russia to coordinate efforts with Turkey, Iran on Syria’s Idlib

Russia will continue close coordination with Turkey and Iran to achieve lasting stability and security in Syria’s Idlib, where violence has surged dangerously, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

“We reaffirm our commitment to the agreements and mutual understandings reached within the Astana format, providing for the need to fight terrorist groups in Syria with respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country,” it said in a statement.

The Astana process was launched in January 2017 by Russia, Iran and Turkey in Astana, later renamed Nur-Sultan, to bring warring parties in the Syrian conflict to the table to find a political solution to the crisis.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that terrorists have intensified their attacks on the positions of the Syrian government forces and nearby cities in Idlib.

In the last two weeks of January alone, more than 1,000 attacks were recorded and hundreds of Syrian troops and civilians, as well as some Russian and Turkish military experts, were killed, according to the ministry.

Syrian government forces were forced to respond in order to protect numerous Syrians from terrorist attacks, it said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened on Jan. 31 to launch military action if the situation in Idlib is not resolved immediately.

Earlier on Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin may hold talks to discuss the issue, according to media reports.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that there are not yet concrete arrangements in place for such a meeting, but he did not rule out the possibility.