The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that their negotiations with the Russian delegation that took place in Ankara yesterday, regarding the situation in the Syrian region of Idlib, discussed the steps to strengthen the political process in Syria.
A Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, "Talks took place in Ankara for 3 hours, between a Turkish delegation headed by the Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal, and a Russian delegation headed by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge of Syrian affairs Sergey Vershinin, along with the Special Envoy of the Russian President to Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev."
The Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson added that "the two sides discussed the situation in Idlib, as well as the necessary steps to move the political process forward."
The Turkish official concluded: "The meeting agreed to continue the talks next week."
The Russian-Turkish talks on Idlib come in light of the latest military escalation in the region, and the Syrian government's forces' ongoing military advancement in the south-eastern countryside of Idlib, areas included in the de-escalation zones that was agreed and established under the tripartite Astana Agreements between Moscow, Ankara and Tehran, and the increased attacks by the armed opposition groups.
While on Saturday, Turkey strengthened its military presence in Idlib, northwestern Syria, as the Turkish and Russian officials held talks on the latest military escalation in the de-escalation zones.
On Wednesday, the Turkish president Erdogan had given the Syrian government until the end of the current February to withdraw their forces behind the Turkish observation posts in the de-escalation zones in north-west of Syria, threatening to launch a military operation there.
"Our observation posts in Idlib will continue to carry out their usual duties and are able to protect themselves," the Turkish Defense Ministry said, adding that it "will respond to any new attack in the most severe manner and in line with the legitimate right of defense."
The Turkish army has 12 military observation posts in Idlib governorate that were established within the framework of Astana Agreement and the de-escalation zones.
The Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart agreed last Tuesday to take urgent measures to increase the effectiveness of coordination between the two countries in Syria. They stressed on the need for strict adherence for the implementation of the Russian-Turkish agreements on Idlib.
The Turkish military reinforcements failed to stop the advancement of the Syrian government forces that took control of the strategic city of Saraqib on the M5 highway, and took control over most of the eastern countryside of Idlib, the largest stronghold of the Syrian armed opposition.