• Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020
  • Last Update : 11:42 pm

Erdogan to meet Putin for Syria talks

  • Published at 05:25 pm September 14th, 2018
From left to right, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan  and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands after a press conference as part of a tripartite summit on Syria, in Ankara, on April 4
File Photo: From left to right, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands after a press conference as part of a tripartite summit on Syria, in Ankara, on April 4 AFP

The meeting will take place in the Russian resort city of Sochi

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday, officials said, amid rising international concern over a looming Syrian government assault on a rebel-held province bordering Turkey.

"President Erdogan will meet with President Putin on Monday," Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a televised press conference on Friday. 

The meeting will take place in the Russian resort city of Sochi, a senior Turkish official told AFP.

Russia-backed forces of the Syrian regime have massed around the Idlib province in recent weeks, sparking fears of an imminent air and ground attack to retake the last major opposition bastion.

UN agencies and relief organizations have warned repeatedly that such an assault could spark one of the worst humanitarian disasters of Syria's seven-year war.

Turkey has intensified negotiations with Russia to avert a possible attack, repeatedly calling for a ceasefire. 

However last week Erdogan and Putin failed to agree on a ceasefire at a three-way summit in Tehran which also involved Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Russia and Iran are key allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime. 

Turkey however backs opposition fighters seeking the ouster of the Syrian leader, and has said a large-scale offensive against the rebels could trigger a mass exodus towards its border. 

Cavusoglu on Friday said Turkey was ready to cooperate with anyone in the fight against terror groups in Syria, but criticized the Damascus regime for using the presence of jihadists groups to legitimize a possible operation in Idlib.

"We are ready to cooperate with everyone in the fight against terror groups but the killing of civilians, women and children under the guise of fighting against terror is not correct," he said. 

"We cannot bring peace that way."

Idlib's most powerful armed faction is the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) jihadist group, which Ankara officially designated a "terrorist" group last month.

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