First Published: 2017-01-13

Turkey says Russia accord will prevent Syria clashes
Coordination efforts have intensified since relations were strained by shooting down of Russian warplane over Syria by Turkish forces in 2015.
Middle East Online

Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik

ANKARA - Turkey on Friday said an accord with Russia to coordinate their air forces in Syria will prevent clashes between its warplanes and those of Russia and also the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Ankara and Moscow have since the onset of the Syrian conflict in 2011 stood on opposite sides of the civil war, with Russia backing Assad and Turkey calling for his ouster.

But joint coordination efforts have intensified after Turkey and Russia patched up diplomatic relations strained by the shooting down of a Russian warplane over Syria by Turkish forces in November 2015.

Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik confirmed Russian statements that Moscow and Ankara had agreed to coordinate their air forces in Syria.

"The accord made with Russia includes coordination. Within this, the appropriate coordination will be made to ensure Turkish aircraft do not come into confrontation with those of Russia or the regime in Syria," he said, quoted by the Anadolu agency.

Ankara has always vehemently denied any secret contacts with the Assad regime during the Syria conflict.

However, Turkish officials have on occasion acknowledged that Assad is a player who cannot be ignored in Syria and could potentially stay on in a post-war transition.

Russia and Turkey have spearheaded a shaky ceasefire in Syria, which Moscow and Ankara hope will lead to Syria peace talks in Kazakhstan beginning on January 23.

Both countries are active on the ground in Syria. Russia has been there since September 2015 to bolster Assad, and Turkey launched an incursion against jihadists and Kurdish militia on the border area in August 2016.

Moscow said Thursday Russia and Turkey signed an agreement spelling out mechanisms to "coordinate" their air forces in Syria when conducting strikes "on terrorist targets".


Erdogan urges world to recognise Jerusalem as Palestinian capital

Saudi, UAE seeks to help West Africa fight terrorism

US skeptical about Putin's declaration of military victory in Syria

Saudi King says determined to confront corruption

Saudi Arabia lifts decades-long ban on cinemas

Israel intelligence minister invites Saudi prince to visit

Saudi-led strikes kill 30 in rebel-run Yemen prison

Saudi king says Palestinians have 'right' to Jerusalem

South Sudan needs $1.7 billion humanitarian aid in 2018

UAE oil giant floats 10 percent of retail arm to strong interest

Growing concern about rise of far-right in Austria

Israeli sentenced to four years for arson attack on church

Erdogan risks sabotaging fragile relations with Israel

6.2-magnitude earthquake strikes Iran

Two Gazans killed by Israeli ‘strike’, Israel denies claim

French FM accuses Iran of carving out ‘axis’ of influence

Somali journalist killed in front of children

Over 170 dead after South Sudan rival cattle herders clash

Russia begins partial withdrawal from Syria

Russia weary of returning IS jihadists before World Cup, election

EU accused of complicity in Libya migrant rights violations

Pentagon skeptical about Russia's Syria pullout claims

EU says Syria war ‘ongoing’ despite Russia pullout

Istanbul nightclub gunman refuses to testify

Integrating Syrians in Turkey carries implications

US opinion views Muslims and Arabs more favourably but political affiliation makes a difference

Iranian conservative protesters say Trump hastening end of Israel

Senior Saudi prince blasts Trump's "opportunistic" Jerusalem move

Kuwait ruler’s son named defence minister

Jordan referred to UN for failing to arrest Sudanese president

Turkey demands life for journalists in coup bid trial

Netanyahu expects EU to follow suit on Jerusalem

Putin orders withdrawal of ‘significant’ amount of troops from Syria

Putin to meet with Sisi in Cairo

GCC at a critical juncture

Houthi rebels tighten grip on Sanaa after Saleh’s assassination

Israel’s Syrian air strikes risk renewing escalation as Iran expands presence in Golan

Qatar to acquire 24 Typhoon fighters from UK

Bahraini civil society group criticised after Israel visit

Israel PM faces renewed pressure in Europe

Palestinian stabs Israeli guard in ‘terrorist’ attack

UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed says US Jerusalem decision could help terrorists

Fateh encourages more protests, refuses to meet Pence

Chinese electric carmaker to open Morocco factory

Iraqi victory over IS remains fragile