Turkey asks Russia to open north Syrian airspace for its armed drones

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Turkey and Russia are discussing opening Russian-controlled airspace in Syria’s Idlib region for armed and unarmed drones, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar was quoted as saying on Thursday, but he added that problems over the issue persist, Reuters reported.

Speaking to reporters in parliament, Akar said Ankara was “hopeful” about ongoing talks between Turkish and Russian officials in Ankara over the northwestern Idlib region, where Turkey’s military is backing Syrian rebels against government forces backed by Russia.

Akar also said he would speak with US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper by telephone later on Thursday, NTV said.

Nineteen Turkish troops were killed in Syrian government attacks in February, and experts say the toll will be higher if Ankara cannot back its soldiers from the air.

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