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Turkish, US officials discuss developments in Syria

ANKARA

Turkish and U.S. officials met Wednesday in the capital Ankara to discuss the latest developments in northwestern Syria.

Deputy Defense Minister Yunus Emre Karaosmanoglu, U.S. special envoy for Syria James Jeffrey and U.S. ambassador to Turkey Michael Satterfield exchanged views on regional security issues, especially the situation in Idlib province.

Karaosmanoglu said more concrete steps should be taken to stop the human tragedy in Idlib or there will be a new wave of refugees that will exceed the boundaries of Turkey.

He also stressed that the U.S. should end its support, including arms and ammunition, for the PKK-KCK/YPG terrorist organization.

Jeffrey arrived in Turkey on Tuesday to meet Turkish officials and re-evaluate recent developments in the region.

Turkish troops are in Idlib — a ceasefire zone under a deal between Turkey and Russia — as part of an anti-terror and peace mission.

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 where 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 a new one that started on Jan. 12.

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