A Russian Navy cargo ship transited the Bosphorus Strait en route to Syria on March 24. The Russian Dvinitsa-50 ship, part of Moscow’s auxiliary fleet, was carrying at least three military ambulances along with a shipping container on its deck.
U.S. President Trump has compared his announcement of coronavirus restrictions to that of Turkish President Erdoğan agreeing to a ceasefire with the YPG, as both leaders did "were not happy about it," but felt obligated to do so.
Turkey has vowed to neutralize radical elements that impede the Russian-Turkish joint patrols in Syria's Idlib, the Russian Defense Ministry said on March 23. The ministry added that the latest joint patrol took place earlier in the day on a shortened route due to safety concerns. Their first joint patrol was also cut short earlier this month due to what Moscow called rebel provocations.
The United States believes Russia has killed dozens of Turkish military personnel in the course of its military operations in Syria, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on March 17. Pompeo did not specify where or during which incident the Turkish soldiers were killed.
U.S. special representative for Syria James Jeffrey did not rule out supplying Turkey with Patriot missile systems for the conflict in Syria's Idlib, but said that Ankara had to "clarify" its position on the rival Russian S-400s.
The United States has asked Ankara to guarantee that it will not activate S-400 missile defense systems that it purchased from Russia to supply Patriot batteries, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on March 10. "They [the U.S.] softened significantly on this S-400 issue. They are now at the point of 'promise us you won't make the S-400s operational,'" he added.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on March 7 there had been no violations of the ceasefire in Syria's Idlib, as part of the agreement reached between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on March 5, while Russia said there have been a few shootings in the region. A day earlier, Putin told Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that the agreement would stabilize the situation in Idlib.
The United States has voiced support for a ceasefire agreed by Moscow and Ankara for northwest Syria's Idlib region, saying that it expects to talk to NATO ally Turkey about the details of the ceasefire, adding that the most important point is whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its backers will abide by the deal.
Syria's war-battered Idlib region was quiet but tense on March 6 as a ceasefire deal between Moscow and Ankara took effect, with residents and opposition forces describing a lull in air raids that have pounded the last rebel-held enclave in Syria. Russia and Turkey made the agreement late on March 5, after six hours of talks in Moscow, to contain a conflict that has displaced nearly a million people in three months in northwest Syria.
The Ankara prosecutor’s office has demanded aggravated life sentences for eight defendants accused of being involved in the killing of the Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov in 2016. The Kremlin said on March 5 Russia wants to ensure that both masterminds and perpetrators in the murder are found and brought to justice.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin later today in Moscow. Erdoğan hopes his visit to Moscow will yield an immediate ceasefire in Syria's Idlib, said Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın. "We have broad relations and we're hopeful as we go to (Russia)," Kalın said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told fellow conservative lawmakers that she is in favour of setting up safety zones in northern Syria, two participants at the meeting told Reuters on March 3. Similarly, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told German news agency DPA that the European states should take stronger responsibility to de-escalate tensions and pave the way for a political solution to the conflict in Syria.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov has accused Turkey of violating international law in Syria's Idlib, as tensions in the province continue to rise. "No one in the West notices the actions of the Turkish side which has already transferred to Syria's Idlib forces as large as a mechanized division in order to 'implement the Sochi agreements at any cost,'" TASS cited Konashenkov as saying.
Russian Defense Ministry has accused Turkey of trying to push 130,000 refugees from Syria into Greece. The two thirds of these refugees - that Turkey is pushing from temporary camps in Syria - are Afghans, Iraqis and Africans, not Syrians, it said.
The UN has said that actions of Turkey and Russia in Syria may amount to war crimes in a report covering the period from July 2019 to February 2020. The report called on Turkey to investigate whether it carried out an air strike on a civilian convoy near Ras al Ain that killed 11 people last October. Turkey has denied a role in the strike, which the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said was conducted by Turkish aircraft.