Putin, Erdogan Agree to Establish Ceasefire in Syria’s Aleppo City

Putin, Erdogan Agree to Establish Ceasefire in Syria’s Aleppo City
Fri Sep 9, 2016 10:34:21

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, have agreed in a phone call on the urgent need for the establishment of a ceasefire in Syria’s violence-plagued northwestern city of Aleppo.

The conversation, which took place late Thursday, saw the two heads of state stressing the need for continued efforts to help bring about a cessation of hostilities in the city by the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice), which is due in less than two weeks, presidential sources said.

The Kremlin also released a statement, confirming the phone conversation.

A key battleground in the five-year conflict in Syria, Aleppo has been divided since 2012 between government forces in the west and the Takfiri terrorists in the east.

The Syrian forces have been engaged in a major operation to liberate the militant-held areas of the city as well as the province with the same name.

The battle for Aleppo is a complex one as the government is engaged in fighting with a wide array of foreign-backed militants.

The phone call comes as Syrian army forces, backed by the Russian air force, are gaining new ground south of Aleppo.

In a major blow to Takfiri groups on Thursday, Syrian soldiers liberated the militant-held district of Ramouseh, which served as a strategic corridor for the terrorists into other occupied districts of Aleppo.

Turkey and Russia have been supporting opposing sides in the conflict in Syria. While Russia has stressed the need to support the legitimate Syrian government, Turkey has been offering support to anti-Damascus militants.

Despite that difference, Turkey has recently been surprisingly gravitating toward Russia following a standoff between the two sides that plunged their relations into turmoil in November 2015.

Back then, the Turkish military shot down a Russian fighter jet as it was conducting operations over Syria.

Recently, though, Erdogan traveled to Russia, where he discussed the Syrian conflict with Putin, and called for a “clean slate” in the bilateral ties.

Last month, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu similarly said Ankara and Moscow were of similar opinions concerning the need for a ceasefire in Syria and the provision of humanitarian aid to the civilians affected by the conflict there.

During the phone conversation, Erdogan and Putin also agreed on the importance of ridding the Syrian border area of “terror organizations,” notably Daesh, the presidential sources said.

The two leaders also exchanged views on the recent Turkish incursion of Syria, which Ankara says is aimed at purging border areas of Daesh and Kurdish militants.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has estimated that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict, Press TV reported.

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