Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday said that Turkey hopes for a ceasefire deal in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib during a planned meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
“On Thursday, I will go to Moscow to discuss developments and steps to be taken in Syria,” the Turkish leader said during a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara, semi-official Anadolu news agency reported.
“I hope that during our discussions, Putin will take the necessary measures there, such as a cease-fire, and we will be able to find a solution to this matter,” Erdogan added.
His remarks came amid a sharp escalation of tension in Idlib where Turkey suffered severe casualties last week in an air raid, following which Ankara launched a major counter-offensive against the Russian-backed Syrian army which was trying to recapture the province since last December.
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)