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Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Russian army chief headed to Turkey for Syria meet

AFP , Thursday 15 Sep 2016
Valery Gerasimov
Russian armed forces Chief-of-Staff Valery Gerasimov (File Photo: REUTERS)
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Russia's top army official is set to discuss the Syrian conflict on Thursday with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara, a fresh sign of healing relations damaged by Turkey's shooting down of a Russian war plane last year.

General Valery Gerasimov will meet Turkey's Hulusi Akar to "discuss the current situation and the prospects of resolution of the Syrian crisis" as well as bilateral military cooperation, the defence ministry said.

Moscow and Ankara began to mend ties in August after months of crisis following Turkey's downing of a Russian jet on the Syrian-Turkish border, which saw Russia accuse Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of profiting from illegal oil trade with the Islamic State group.

Gerasimov's visit had been expected in late August after Erdogan went to Moscow, but was then postponed.

Moscow has flown a year-long aerial bombing campaign in support of forces loyal to Syria's Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey has backed the opposition seeking to oust him.

However, Ankara has welcomed the fragile last-ditch Russia-US truce plan agreed last week, which went into effect Tuesday and is supposed to halt fighting across areas not held by Islamist militants.

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