Erdogan to Sochi, Hold Talks with Putin Over Idlib Situation

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin held a meeting at the Russian leader’s presidential residence on Monday in the coastal city of Sochi.

Erdoğan said on Monday that a joint statement due to be made after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the crisis in Syria would bring “new hope” to the region.

Russian President Putin says he has a lot to discuss with Turkey’s Erdoğan, including complicated matters to review and solve.

“Exchanging views on political, military, economic issues will strengthen Turkey and Russia”, Erdoğan added.

Putin in his turn said that “In terms of trade, it’s growing intensely. Our relations are also improving in terms of regional security,”.

Relations between Turkey and Russia, economy and energy issues, as well as regional and international issues, particularly Syria, were among the topics expected to be discussed

Idlib situation

The Syrian government has recently announced plans to launch a major military offensive on Idlib province, long controlled by various armed opposition groups and their last bastion in the war-torn country.

Russia and Iran, who back the Syrian government, want to eliminate what they call “terrorist groups” in the province, which neighbours Turkey.

Ankara wants a stable ceasefire in the region to disarm these groups while keeping the peace in Idlib.

The UN warns 

The UN warns that a full offensive on Idlib would lead to the “worst humanitarian catastrophe in the 21st century”.

On Sunday, Erdogan said that he expected his meeting with Putin to have positive outcomes in order to prevent a humanitarian tragedy in Idlib.

“The outcome of our meeting with Putin will be important. I also have visits to the United Nations General Assembly and Germany towards the end of the month,” said Erdogan.

“It is my wish that, with positive decisions made at these meetings, we will carry out the situation [in Idlib] to a new level. If the situation in Idlib continues as is, the results will be heavy.”

During talks in Istanbul on Friday, officials from Turkey, Russia, France and Germany agreed that any attack on Syria‘s rebel-held Idlib would have severe results and a political solution must be reached, according to Turkey’s presidency.

Turkey, Russia and Iran met in Tehran last week but the talks failed to produce any agreement on a ceasefire.

Since the beginning of September, dozens of people have been killed and injured in air raids and attacks by the Syrian government and Russian warplanes, according to activists on the ground.

Thousands took to the streets across Idlib on Friday to protest against a potential full-fledged offensive by government forces and their allies.