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Turkish, Russian prez discuss tension in Syria's Idlib
TIWN
Turkish, Russian prez discuss tension in Syria's Idlib
PHOTO : TIWN

Ankara, Feb 12 (TIWN) The Russian and Turkish presidents had a phone conversation and discussed the escalation in Idlib in northwestern Syria, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.

De-escalation talks between representatives of Russia and Turkey have failed to yield any agreement after 13 soldiers were killed over the course of the past week as Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces continued their efforts to take the strategic M5 highway to Aleppo from rebels for the first time since 2012. By late Tuesday, it remained unclear as to whether the Syrian government's efforts were successful.

Turkey has sent hundreds of military vehicles and troops to its Idlib outposts in the past week in one of the most serious confrontations between the country and Syria's government in the nine-year war. Though Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan has threatened that Assad's government will pay "a very heavy price" for the Turkish soldiers killed, he may not want to risk a direct clash with the Russian aircraft and personnel backing the Syrian forces, which could lead to an even more dangerous escalation.
 
Neither Russia nor Turkey is "prepared to cede either the principal or the ground" in Idlib, Tobias Schneider, a research fellow at the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin, told DW. "We might see a minor conflagration as we saw in 2015, when the Turks shot down a Russian jet, and then we would see who would back down first," Schneider said. "That's the big question now."
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