'No withdrawals of troops from Syria's Idlib': Turkey

# 21 March 2020 00:52 (UTC +04:00)

Planned deployment and distribution of troops in Idlib de-escalation zone of northwestern Syria is continuing, and there are no withdrawals of troops from the region, Turkish National Defense Ministry announced on Friday, APA reports citing Anadolu Agency.

To stop the bloodshed and humanitarian crisis, and ensure security of troops as well as safe return of civilians to their homes, all decisions taken under the Moscow deal are being implemented with utmost care, said a statement by the ministry.

The statement further noted: "The Turkish Armed Forces is continuing planned deployment and distribution of troops in the Idlib de-escalation zone of northwestern Syria, in line with the cease-fire of March 6. Reports by some media organizations about withdrawals of our troops from the region do not reflect the truth."

Idlib falls within a de-escalation zone laid out in a deal between Turkey and Russia in late 2018. The Syrian regime and its allies, however, have consistently broken the terms of the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the zone.

Syria has been mired in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and over 10 million others displaced during the course of the Syrian conflict.