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The New Arab Staff

Turkish denies reports of deal with Russia to open Syria crossings

Russian media had earlier said that crossings in rebel-held northwestern Syria would be opened [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 March, 2021

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Turkish officials have denied reports in Russian media that an agreement was reached with Ankara to open crossings between regime and rebel held areas in Syria
Turkish officials on Thursday denied Russian claims that Turkey had agreed with Moscow to open three border crossings in north-western Syria between the opposition and regime-held territory.

Some Russian media outlets, citing the Russian Defence Ministry, had earlier reported that an agreement was reached with the Turkish side to reopen the three crossings.

However, both Reuters and the Turkish news agency Anadolu said that Turkish officials had denied these reports.

The confusion over the crossings reopening came at a time when both Russia and President Bashar al-Assad's regime carried out airstrikes on rebel-held Idlib province continue.

Two senior Turkish sources also told The New Arab’s Arabic-language service earlier this week that no agreement was reached between Moscow and Ankara regarding the opening of the three crossing points. 

On 1 February, Russia had proposed opening the Abu Zandin, Saraqib and Miznas border crossings and creating a commercial border crossing for the people living in the region to use, the Turkish officials told Anadolu Agency.

The crossings stayed open until February 24, although there were no requests for passage through them, the officials added.

Read More: What's next for Syria under the Biden administration?

An attempt was made to open the Saraqib and Miznas border crossing in April 2020, but pressure and protests from people in opposition-held areas.

Turkey and Russia support opposing sides in Syria’s 10-year conflict. The countries reached a cease-fire deal last March that stopped a Russian-backed regime offensive on Idlib. The Assad regime and its Russian backers have frequently violated the ceasefire, however. 

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