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Turkey and Russia discussing ‘secure zone’ in Syria’s Idlib region: Turkish defense minister

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FILE PHOTO: Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar attends the NATO defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium October 24, 2019. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey and Russia are discussing the establishment of a ‘secure zone’ within Syria’s northwestern Idlib region where Syrians displaced by fighting can shelter during the winter, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Wednesday.

Syrian government attacks in the region were continuing despite a ceasefire which came into effect three days ago, Akar told reporters in Ankara, and Turkey was reinforcing an observation post which has been surrounded by Syrian forces.

The minister said Turkey has not received an official request regarding a call by the Iraqi parliament on Jan. 5 for the withdrawal of foreign troops.

Reporting by Orhan Coskun; Writing by Dominic Evans; Editing by Daren Butler

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via Reuters