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Russia: Turkey needs Syria’s consent before setting up safe zone | News

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Russia has told Turkey it has no right to create a “safe zone” inside Syria unless it sought and received the consent of President Bashar al-Assad, signalling tensions as a three-way summit on the Syrian conflict began.

President Vladimir Putin, one of Assad’s closest allies, was hosting the summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Thursday, to discuss the future of Syria with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

All three countries have forces on the ground in Syria where they have coordinated their efforts despite sometimes differing priorities and interests.

But a planned withdrawal of US forces from Syria, announced by President Donald Trump in December, has engendered new tensions between Moscow and Ankara in particular.

Turkey wants to set up what it calls a safe zone in northeast Syria, parts of which are now controlled by US forces, and for the area near the Turkish border to be cleared of the US-backed Kurdish YPG militia.

But, speaking ahead of the start of the Sochi summit on Syria, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Ankara would need Assad’s green light to create any safe zone inside Syrian borders.

“The question of the presence of a military contingent acting on the authority of a third country on the territory of a sovereign country and especially Syria must be decided directly by Damascus,” Maria Zakharova said in answer to a question about the Turkish safe zone plan. “That’s our base position.”

But that is likely to be an unappealing prospect for Erdogan, who has called for Assad to step down after years of civil war that has shattered his country.

Idlib pressure 

The Kremlin on Thursday also made clear that its patience with Turkey over a joint deal to enforce a demilitarised zone in the northwestern Idlib region was running short.

Moscow and Ankara brokered the deal in September, saying they wanted the region free of heavy weapons and fighters. The agreement helped avert a government assault on the region, the last major bastion of Assad’s opponents.

But Moscow has since complained that armed groups who used to belong to the Nusra Front group are now in control there and wants military action to drive them out.

Ankara is less keen as it is concerned about potential refugee flows from Idlib in the event of a military operation, and wants to retain its influence in a region on its border.






WATCH: Kurdish group says “truce not meaningful” after Turkish air strikes

It also does not want developments in Idlib to distract from its plan to set up a safe zone in the northeast.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow wanted action on Idlib, referring to the “continued presence there of terrorist groups.”

“… Implementing the decision on Idlib is one of the overall components in our policy to stabilise Syria to definitively create the conditions for things to move onto a political settlement,” said Peskov, who made clear Putin would press Erdogan on the subject later on Thursday.

Speaking in Sochi on Thursday, Erdogan said Turkey wanted to move in coordination with Russia on a planned safe zone in northern Syria and added that Syria’s territorial integrity could not be established as long as the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia is not cleared from the area.






WATCH: Inside Story – Could Turkey’s offensive in Syria lead to a quagmire? (25:09)


SOURCE:
Reuters news agency

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Bride calls off wedding after discovering fiancé made ‘sexist’ demand to her dad

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A bride made the devastating decision to cancel her wedding to her partner of seven years after her dad revealed the ‘sexist’ demand his family had made behind her back.

The dad says his daughter got engaged recently and he had always been fond of her fiancé, who he thought of as “kind, humble and always respectful to our family”.

However, he says when he has met the man’s family for dinner on a couple of occasions, they made remarks towards his daughter which made him feel uncomfortable, including: ‘I don’t know why you’re working, isn’t that the husband’s job? It’s the mother’s job to be taking care of the children’.

As his daughter pair pressed ahead with their plans for the ceremony, the dad says her fiancé arranged a meeting with them both and his parents, adding that his daughter couldn’t be involved.

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Gordon Ramsay’s £20 ‘preselected’ cheese board labelled ‘insulting’ by furious customer

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Gordon Ramsay has sparked outrage once again as a customer complained that a cheese board he received at one of the celebrity chef’s restaurants was “insulting” and “preselected”.

Previously, Gordon was slammed for the size of his steak and chips, was told to “get a grip” for the price of his fry-up and criticised for the roast which was compared to a ‘child’s portion’.

But the latest customer to be disappointed by the TV chef’s food was Simon, who visited the three Michelin star restaurant with friends, Daily Star reports.

Simon was ‘insulted’ after receiving a “preselected” cheese board, and took to TripAdvisor to leave a two-star review.

Their review said: “I visited GR hospital road on a Friday night with friends for a special treat.

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Mum shares tip to fit three pizzas on one oven shelf to make family cooking easy

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Cooking pizzas for the whole family should be quick and easy dinner option – but it usually also throws up a headache.

With only one small oven to get the job done, we have to decide between either cooking one at a time and eating separately, or attempting to rotate them every few minutes to cook them evenly.

But one mum has revealed a painfully easy solution to get three frozen pizzas on one shelf, giving her room to put chips on a tray below – and you’ll wonder why your brain has never come up with the solution itself.

Posting on the Family Lockdown Tips & Ideas Facebook group, the mum demonstrated how she cuts the frozen pizzas in half before arranging them all on a single oven rack, making use of all available space.

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