Putin & Erdogan talk Syria, agree to better coordination
Russia's President Vladimir Putin held phone talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan late on Tuesday, the Kremlin press service has said. The two leaders have discussed the situation in Syria, expressing concerns over the ongoing escalation in the Idlib region.
Putin outlined a surge in terrorist activities in the region that has led to multiple casualties among Syrian civilians. The two leaders agreed that earlier deals on the Idlib de-escalation – reached in Russia's resort city of Sochi back in 2018 and 2019 – must be implemented, while the defense ministries of the two countries must increase their cooperation in Syria.
Over the past few days, the violence in Idlib has escalated as the Syrian government troops launched a massive offensive against the militants, who continuously violated the ceasefire brokered with Russian-Turkish mediation. The offensive led to liberation of multiple locations by the Syrian military, but also angered Ankara.
Early on Monday, several Turkish soldiers were killed in Idlib by Syrian artillery fire after the troops Syria without prior notice. The incident prompted a surge in hostile rhetoric from the top Turkish officials as well as retaliatory strikes on Syrian troops.