Turkish and Russian presidents discuss developments in Idlib
Turkey - SMART
One Wednesday, the Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he discussed steps to maintain stability in the governorate of Idlib, Northern Syria, with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In a news conference with Erdogan, Putin added that the Russian and Turkish defense ministers talked about the two countries' course of action in the governorate of Idlib and the immediate implementation of unspecified procedures, according to Reuters.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the situation in Idlib is rapidly deteriorating and that it is almost completely controlled by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, after attempts to establish a de-escalation zone in the governorate.
Putin stated that Russia aims to hold a trilateral summit with Turkey and Iran on the Syrian issue in Moscow next month.
Putin also said that Russia respects the interests of its Turkish friends, especially with regard to security, referring to the safe zone that Turkey wants to establish in Northeastern Syria.
For his part, the Turkish President said that Turkey and Russia should fight together against terrorist organizations to undermine cooperation between the two countries in Idlib. Erdogan explained that he discussed the issue of the return of Syrian refugees to Syria with Putin, without adding further details.
On Jan. 14, 2019, the US President Donald Trump said that they will establish a 20-mile safe zone in Northern Syria and do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey. The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also said that Turkey was not against the idea of a safe zone on the Turkish-Syrian border.
Turkey plans to launch a military attack against the Kurdish People's Protection Units, which is considered an extension to the "terrorist" Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), according to Turkey. Last Friday, the Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar stated that Turkey is preparing for a counter-terrorism military operation in areas east of the Euphrates River, while the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey had completed its preparations for a military operation.