The Kremlin has denied that Russian President Vladimir Putin would meet his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on March 5 to discuss the Syrian situation.
“Putin has other work plans for March 5,” Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told media while commenting on a possible summit of Russian, Turkish, German and French leaders in Istanbul amid rising tensions in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province.
However, Peskov said that Russia and Turkey are maintaining working communications at the expert level, primarily to discuss the crisis in Idlib, where Turkish armed forces are clashing with Syrian government troops, Xinhua reported.
On Saturday, Erdogan said that he would hold a summit with the leaders of Russia, France and Germany on March 5 to discuss the situation in Syria’s last rebel enclave of Idlib.
Earlier, the Syrian regime and Iranian-backed groups also launched a ground offensive in Aleppo province, a designated de-escalation zone, forcing at least 13,000 more civilians to move toward Turkey’s border.
The war in Libya, where Turkey is sending troops in support of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord, and the conflict in Syria, where Ankara and Moscow are both militarily involved, are also set to dominate the summit as well.
Turkey launched a cross-border assault on Kurdish fighters after the US decided to withdraw troops from Syria, a move that was criticised by the Republicans, with some terming it a “betrayal” of the Kurds.
More than 50 people, including civilians, have been killed last year as the Turkish offensive in Syria, which was launched by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan aimed at pushing the Kurdish forces away from its border.
(With inputs from agency)