March 6, 2020 / 11:45 AM / a month ago

Erdogan says military posts in Syria's Idlib will stand after ceasefire

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin (not pictured) following their talks in Moscow, Russia March 5, 2020. Pavel Golovkin/Pool via REUTERS

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey’s military observation posts in Syria’s Idlib will retain their current status with the Russian-Turkish ceasefire deal, President Tayyip Erdogan was cited as saying by his office on Friday, adding the agreement laid the groundwork for the normalisation of the region.

Turkey and Russia announced the agreement on Thursday to contain an escalating conflict in Syria’s northwest. The deal did not address some key Turkish demands including withdrawal of Syrian government forces from its observation posts.

Speaking on his return flight from Moscow, Erdogan also said the United States could have sent military support to Turkey for Idlib if there was no ceasefire on Thursday, but that no support had been sent yet.

He also reiterated that Turkey would activate the Russian S-400 defence systems it purchased despite protests from Washington next month, adding he had also asked for U.S. Patriot systems.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ece Toksabay; Editing by Jonathan Spicer

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