Russia, Iran must halt Assad regime's aggression: FM
Turkey's Mevlut Cavusoglu decries Assad regime stepping up attacks in wake of fresh cease-fire for Idlib, Syria
Assad regime supporters Russia and Iran must halt the regime's aggression, especially in the embattled cease-fire zone of Idlib, said Turkey’s foreign minister on Tuesday.
"Despite declaring a cease-fire, the regime again stepped up its aggression on January 12, especially with the air support provided by those who support the regime," said Mevlut Cavusoglu, referring to a further cease-fire declared in Idlib, northwestern Syria, last month.
His remarks, in a joint press conference with his Montenegrin counterpart Srdjan Darmanovic in the capital Podgorica, came one day after five Turkish troops were martyred and five wounded in an attack by Assad regime forces.
The Turkish troops are in Idlib as part of an anti-terror and peace mission.
Cavusoglu arrived in Montenegro on Monday for a two-day official visit.
He earlier met separately with Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic, Parliament Speaker Ivan Brajovic, Prime Minister Dusko Markovic, and Foreign Minister Srdjan Darmanovic.
Following the meeting, Cavusoglu and Darmanovic inked new bilateral deals in areas such as providing consular assistance to Montenegrin citizens and income for family members of diplomatic staffers. 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. Since then, however, more than 1,800 civilians have been killed in attacks by regime and Russian forces, flouting both the 2018 ceasefire and the new one that came into effect on Jan. 12.