IDLIB CRISIS: Putin and Erdogan Meet to Discuss Syria De-escalation

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan talk during their meeting in the Kremlin, in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 5, 2020. The Turkish and Russian leaders are holding talks in Moscow aimed at avoiding pitting their nations against each other, during hostilities in northwestern Syria. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, Pool)
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MOSCOW – Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who arrived in Moscow on a working visit today, March 5th, are set to discuss the problems and possible ways to resolve the Syrian crisis, taking into account the aggravation of the situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone, the Kremlin’s press service reports.

At the beginning of the conversation, the Russian leader thanked the Turkish leader for accepting the invitation to visit Moscow for negotiations. “As always, we have something to talk about. And now the situation in the well-known zone, in Idlib, in Syria, has become so aggravated that it certainly requires our direct personal conversation, ” Putin said.

The President of the Russian Federation expressed his sincere condolences to the Turkish colleague over the death of Turkish troops in Syria. “Death is always a big tragedy,” he emphasized.

“Unfortunately, as I already told you in a telephone conversation, no one, including the Syrian troops, knew about their location (Turkish military. –  Ed .). During this time, unfortunately, the Syrian troops suffered as well: the Syrian army suffered serious losses. Therefore, of course, we need to talk with you everything, the whole situation that has developed to date, so that nothing like this occurs: a) it doesn’t repeat itself and b) it does not destroy the Russian-Turkish relations we relate to – and I know, you too, – very carefully treat and value this,” Putin said, adding that he was ready to start a face-to-face conversation, “and then, if necessary, connect our colleagues who are here in the hall.”

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Erdogan also began the conversation with words of gratitude for the reception organized in the Russian capital. “As you know, we should have held this meeting in Turkey, but in connection with your work on constitutional amendments, we decided to accept your invitation and come here. Undoubtedly, our meeting today … is of great importance, ”said the Turkish president.

He admitted that there was a “very tense situation” in Idlib.

“I know that the whole world has turned its eyes here today, and I believe that our today’s steps to be taken and our decisions will undoubtedly ease the situation. We are just experiencing the time, the period when our relationship reached a peak. This undoubtedly applies to the defense industry, and trade relations, and so on; they continue to evolve. We believe and say that we need to move in this direction. And our biggest task is precisely to advance and develop these relations. And I believe that we will succeed in this matter, ” Erdogan concluded.

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