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Turkey says discussing with Russia opening Syrian air space for drones: NTV

FILE PHOTO: Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar attends a NATO defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 13, 2020. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey and Russia are discussing opening Russian-controlled air space in Syria’s Idlib region for armed and unarmed drones, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar was quoted as saying on Thursday, but he added that problems over the issue persisted.

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 U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper by telephone later on Thursday, broadcaster NTV said.

Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Daren Butler