On Wednesday, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalın underscored the urgency of the need to protect civilians and Turkish troops in northwestern Syria’s Idlib province in a meeting with U.S. Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey.
The two officials discussed the ongoing Idlib crisis, according to a statement by the presidency.
They highlighted that the Bashar Assad regime's attacks on Turkish observation posts in Syria were unacceptable while noting that the relevant agreements over the area needed to be upheld to prevent a further deterioration of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the region.
Kalın and Jeffrey also agreed that the regime needed to halt its attacks and speed up the constitutional process to facilitate talks to enable a political solution with the support of the international community.
Kalın also reiterated Turkey’s determination to fight all terrorist groups in the region to protect its own security.
Recent developments in Libya, as well as the sustainability of the cease-fire and the transformation to a political process, were also discussed during the meeting, the statement added.
Jeffrey, who also serves as the U.S. special envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh, was previously in Ankara as part of a high-level U.S. delegation led by Vice President Mike Pence to discuss Turkey's anti-terror operation in northeastern Syria.
His visit follows two attacks by Assad regime forces on Turkish observation posts in Idlib, which left 14 dead and 45 injured.
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 that time, flouting both the 2018 cease-fire and a latter agreement on Jan. 12.
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