Moscow, MINA – ussian President Vladimir Putin is to host his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan later on Monday to discuss peace efforts for Syria’s Idlib region, where a major Syrian government offensive against a rebel stronghold appears imminent.
The Kremlin said ahead of the talks that the situation in Idlib was “acute” and demanded an “earnest conversation at the highest level.”
The meeting, in the Russian city of Sochi, is expected to continue talks from an Iran-hosted summit last week, during which Putin shrugged off Erdogan’s proposal for a complete ceasefire for Idlib.
Russia, the main military backer of the Syrian government, has so far agreed with rebel-sympathetic Turkey that organizations defined as terrorists are not included in ceasefire efforts, UNA reported.
Near the Turkish border in Syria’s north-west, Idlib is the last remaining rebel stronghold after seven years of devastating civil war in the country.
As Syrian state forces were poised to invade Idlib, Russia accused militants of conducting attacks and said it was preparing humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians.
Turkey has been trying to prevent a battle over Idlib that could drive masses of civilians northwards into Turkey. Idlib’s civilian population is estimated at 3 million.(R/R04/RS5)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)