The U.N. envoys of the United States, Britain and Germany on Feb. 19 called on the Syrian government to end its attacks on Turkey's observation posts in Idlib at a Security Council meeting in New York.
France will replace an imam exchange program that was established in 1977 and allowed teachers to be sent to France from nine countries to teach languages and culture without Paris' supervision, President Emmanuel Macron said on Feb. 17. Instead, France will sign bilateral agreements with those nine countries, though not with Ankara.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is seeking to ensure a humanitarian catastrophe does not befall northwest Syria's Idlib province, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Feb. 18, adding that Washington and Ankara are "working together" to determine what can be done amid a Syrian army offensive. A day later, Erdoğan said that a military operation in Idlib was a "matter of time."
The head of Libya's U.N.-recognized government has confirmed previous reports that Turkey sent allied Syrian fighters to the warn-struck country as part of its military support for the embattled government in Tripoli. “Yes, there are now Syrians here,” Fayez al-Sarraj said.
India summoned the Turkish ambassador on Feb. 17 to lodge a diplomatic protest over President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's remarks on the disputed region of Kashmir. India, which considers all of Kashmir an integral part of the country, told Turkish envoy Şakir Özkan Torunlar that Erdoğan's comments lacked any understanding of the history of the Kashmir dispute, the Indian foreign ministry said.
Syrian government forces made significant advances on Feb. 16 in the country's northwestern Aleppo province, seizing most of the rebel-held region, state media said. On Feb. 16, Russian warplanes mounted heavy air strikes in Aleppo province, bombing towns including Anadan, which was later seized by Syrian forces supported by Iranian-backed militias, activists reported.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said that disagreements between Moscow and Ankara over Syria’s Idlib will have no impact on the deliveries of S-400 missile defense systems. A senior U.S. official also commented on the issue, saying that strains between Turkey and Russia over Idlib appear not to have shaken Turkish plans to deploy the S-400s, despite a threat of U.S sanctions.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has praised the good ties between Moscow and Ankara, adding that the countries will sometimes disagree. "We have a very good relationship with Turkey. It does not mean that we must agree on all the issues," he said. "I strongly believe that in the relations between any two countries there cannot be a complete consensus on any problem," Lavrov added.
A Turkish delegation will visit Russia next week to hold talks on clashes in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu said on Feb. 15. Turkey wants to solve issues with Russia over Idlib through diplomacy but will take other “measures” if necessary, Çavuşoğlu said.
The Albanian government will use a plane from Turkey's VIP fleet. Registered as ANA ("mother" in Turkish), the Airbus A319 was purchased from the Italian Air Force in 2005 and joined Turkey's CIP fleet.
Turkey-backed rebels have shot down a Syrian army helicopter in western Aleppo, the second such incident in three days. A video was released shortly after the incident, showing the moment the militant anti-aircraft missile hit the Syrian military chopper.
Moscow expects Ankara to ensure the safety of all Russians who work in Turkey, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. "We have no doubt that the Turkish authorities will take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of the Russian envoy and all embassy staff members," Peskov said. Turkish officials have reportedly increased security at the Russian Embassy in Ankara in the wake of threats addressed to Ambassador Alexey Yerkhov.
Russian Foreign Ministry has warned Turkey to refrain from provocative statements on Idlib, days after MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli directed accusations toward Moscow. "We believe that in the context of the tense situation in the northwest of Syria, it is worth exercising restraint and in particular refraining from provocative comments that do not contribute to a constructive dialogue between our countries," the ministry said.
The German economy ministry said in its answer to a recent parliamentary question that the government has authorized arms exports to Turkey, Qatar, the UAE and Egypt worth 4.3 million euros during the period of Jan. 1 – Feb. 4. The Left Party’s ("Die Linke") MP Sevim Dağdelen has criticized Germany's move, saying: “Arms exports to countries involved in the Libya war should completely end.”
Syria's parliament has backed a resolution condemning the mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks in 1915 as genocide, in a move that came amid increased tensions between Ankara and Damascus in Idlib. In the past, Syria allowed the recognition of the genocide inside the country, but the government did not officially recognize it due to ties with Ankara.