Putin, Erdogan to discuss Syria amid discord over Idlib

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Moscow, Sep 16 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin will discuss Syrian issues with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Russia’s Sochi on Monday, the Kremlin said on Sunday.

The meeting will take place at a time when the Syrian government forces backed by Russia and Iran are preparing an offensive against the rebels’ last major stronghold in Idlib province, although Turkey and the US have repeatedly warned against any operation, Xinhua reported.

Erdogan’s call for a ceasefire in Idlib, which borders Turkey, was accepted neither by Russia nor Iran at the tripartite summit in Tehran on September 7.

Last week, four Russian warplanes stationed in Syria’s Hmeymim airbase attacked militants in Idlib and the Russian Foreign Ministry said it was important and urgent to eradicate terrorism in Idlib. Russian strategic bombers have simulated striking targets in Syria.

Turkey and the US are opposed to the possible offensive in Idlib, citing that it could cause great civilian casualties and even a humanitarian disaster.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are expected to negotiate over Idlib on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly that will open on Tuesday.

–IANS

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