Last Update 0:25
Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Putin says Russia, Turkey agree on additional steps in Syria's Idlib

Reuters , Tuesday 27 Aug 2019
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan visit the MAKS-2019 International Aviation and Space Salon in Zhukovsky outside Moscow, Russia, August 27, 2019. Murat Cetinmuhurdar Reuters
Views: 1327
Views: 1327

President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia and Turkey had agreed steps to tackle militants in northwest Syria and "normalise" the situation there after a Syrian army offensive encircled rebel fighters and a Turkish military post.

Putin was speaking after talks in Moscow with President Tayyip Erdogan, who has said the Syrian army attacks in the Idlib region bordering Turkey have caused a humanitarian crisis and threaten Turkey's national security.

"Together with Turkey's president we have outlined additional joint steps to neutralise the terrorists' nests in Idlib and normalise the situation there and in the whole of Syria as a result," Putin told a joint briefing with Erdogan.

He did not mention Erdogan's call for the Syrian army assault to be halted.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces, backed by Russian air power, have been waging an offensive in the Idlib region, the last remaining rebel-held territory in Syria. Much of the region is controlled by jihadists linked to the former Nusra Front, which was linked to al Qaeda.

Erdogan, standing alongside Putin, said it was unacceptable that Syrian forces were "raining death on civilians from the air and land under the pretence of battling terrorism".

He also said Turkey had the right to self-defence on its border. "I conveyed our country's determination on this matter personally to my dear friend Mr Putin," Erdogan added.

Syrian troops have encircled rebels and a Turkish military post in northwest Syria in an offensive to reclaim territory and towns the government lost early in the war.

The military observation post near the town of Morek is one of 12 that Ankara established in northwest Syria under a deal with Moscow and Tehran two years ago to reduce fighting between Assad's forces and rebels.

Close Ties Despite Syria

A senior Turkish official said ahead of the talks that Turkey expected Russia, as a powerful supporter of Assad, to take steps to "alleviate the problem".

Erdogan and Putin hold frequent talks and - despite the differences over Syria - have forged close ties focused on energy and defence cooperation. In July, Turkey began taking delivery of Russian S-400 missile defence systems, a move that strained ties with Ankara's NATO ally the United States.

As the two leaders were meeting in Moscow, deliveries of the second battery of the S-400 system began.

As well as putting Turkish troops in the region in the firing line, the advances of Assad's forces have threatened Ankara's hopes of preventing a fresh wave of refugees - including fighters - on its southern border.

The United Nations says more than 500,000 people have been uprooted since the Syrian army began its offensive in late April, most of them escaping deeper into the rebel bastion and towards the border. Turkey opened its border at the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011 and now hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees.

"The necessary measures need to be taken to prevent a migrant wave from there to Turkey. Measures should be taken against any problems that may arise on this issue," the official also said.

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.