Syrian government forces surrounded a Turkish military observation post in north-west Syria on Friday (August 23rd) after overrunning nearby areas, AFP reported.
The move angered Turkey, with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu saying his country's troops will not quit the observation post as Moscow said that it has agreed with Ankara to "activate mutual efforts" to ease the situation in Idlib.
The town of Morek, where the Turkish troops have been cut off, lies in the north of Hama province, part of an extremist-ruled region centred on neighbouring Idlib province that has been under government assault since late April.
Government forces took control of Morek and other nearby towns including Kafr Zita on Friday, Syrian state news agency SANA said.
Extremists and allied groups withdrew from the area ahead of the army's entry into the strategic town of Khan Sheikhun on Wednesday and government forces took control without resistance, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"Regime forces have surrounded the Turkish observation post in Morek after capturing other towns and villages in this pocket," the Observatory said.
The Kremlin on Friday said that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to "activate mutual efforts" to ease the situation in Syria's Idlib region.
"They discussed the issues of Russian-Turkish co-operation in the context of stabilisation of the de-escalation zone," a statement said.
Erdogan is to host his Russian and Iranian counterparts for a summit in Ankara next month to discuss the latest developments.