Erdogan, Putin agree joint push to end Syria war

Erdogan, Putin agree joint push to end Syria war
Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:54:37

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan have agreed to step up efforts to bring peace to Syria, with Mr Putin declaring the right conditions now existed to end the civil war.

(rte) -- After late night talks at Mr Erdogan's presidential palace in Ankara, both leaders agreed to push for the creation of a "de-escalation" zone in Syria's key northern province of Idlib, currently controlled by [terrorists].

Despite being on opposite sides of the conflict, Russia and Turkey have been working together intensely since a 2016 reconciliation deal ended a crisis caused by the shooting down of a Russian war plane over Syria.

Moscow and Ankara have proposed at peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana, the creation of four de-escalation zones in Syria to be patrolled by military observers, but the one in Idlib is by far the most significant.

Mr Erdogan said the pair agreed to "pursue more intensely" the implementation of a de-escalation zone in Idlib, in comments echoed by Mr Putin.

Mr Putin said the work to implement the agreements made at the Astana peace talks has "not been easy" but the sides had already "succeeded in having a positive result".

"De-facto, the necessary conditions have been created for the end of the fratricidal war in Syria, the final defeat of terrorists and the return of Syrians to a peaceful life and their homes," said Mr Putin.

While parts of Syria, notably Aleppo province, have calmed considerably in the last months, Idlib remains the scene of heavy fighting.

Russia and Turkey would work "with the aim of deepening the coordination of our joint activity to solve the Syria crisis," Mr Putin added.

Mr Putin and Mr Erdogan also hailed improving economic bilateral cooperation, with Russian tourists returning to Turkey and the two countries working on a Black Sea gas pipeline.

(Photo: EPA)

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