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22 February 2020 - 09:13
News ID: 449210
Russia says Turkey has sent large amounts of ammunition and armored vehicles into Syria’s Idlib province, apparently in preparation for its anticipated large-scale operation in the Arab country.

RNA - Turkey has brought large amounts of military hardware and ammunition into Idlib in recent weeks, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Friday.

The deployment comes as Turkey announced Thursday it wanted no “face-off” with Moscow over Syria’s offensive against terrorists near the two countries’ border but said it might receive US defense missiles to protect Turkish forces.

“We have no intentions of a face-off with Russia,” Turkey’s defense minister Hulusi Akar told CNN Turk broadcaster, adding that talks would continue with Russian officials.

However, Ankara has asked the US to conduct aerial patrols in its airspace bordering Idlib to show support for Ankara's imminent large-scale military operations against the Syrian army, a Turkish official told Middle East Eye.

The request came earlier this month in meetings with US Special Envoy James Jeffrey in Ankara, where Turkish officials also asked Washington for two batteries of Patriot missile systems to shield the border area from possible air attacks, the official told MEE on condition of anonymity.

Another Turkish official said that Ankara was also waiting for a response from US-led NATO to provide more support for its air defense needs.

Russia urges Turkey to allow Syrians flee to govt.-held areas

Amid an imminent operation by Turkish forces in Idlib, the Russian defense ministry has urged Ankara to allow Syrian civilians to enter government-controlled parts of the Arab country.

The ministry also denied reports that hundreds of thousands of Syrians were fleeing Idlib in the direction of Turkey.

According to Press TV, the Russian defense ministry issued its comments in a statement, saying it had been using drones and other resources to monitor the situation in Idlib.

The Kremlin also announced on Friday that a summit of heads of Russia, France, Germany, and Turkey on Syria is under discussion.

Tensions have mounted in the last three months between Turkey, which backs anti-government militants in Syria, and Russia which backs the Syrian army’s offensive in Idlib, the last militant-held region of the country.

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