Erdogan to fly to Moscow Tuesday after strikes in Syria

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Moscow on Tuesday to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, a few days after a Turkish military convoy was targeted during air strikes in Syria, the Turkish presidency said on Friday.

Erdogan will stay in the Russian capital one day without further details, the presidency said in a statement.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed to Russian news agencies that the Russian president would meet his Turkish counterpart on August 27.

Peskov told Interfax that the talks would be held on the sidelines of the “Max International Airshow”, which is about 40 kilometers from the Russian capital.

The visit comes at a time when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces are making progress in northwestern Syria and have stepped up confrontation with Turkey in its months-long offensive backed by Russia.

Turkey is one of Assad’s main opponents and supports rebel factions fighting to overthrow him.

But last year Ankara signed an agreement with Moscow to avert a large-scale offensive that the Syrian authorities were threatening to launch in the province.

On Monday, Turkish officials condemned the “most ferocious” air strike on a Turkish military convoy in Idlib province, saying the strike violated agreements on Syria.

Ankara blamed the “regime forces” Syrian responsibility for the strike, which according to Turkey killed three civilians. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced that the strike was carried out by the Syrian and Russian air forces and was aimed at blocking the advance of the convoy in Idlib province.

During a telephone conversation on Friday, Erdogan and Putin agreed to “activate joint efforts” to calm the situation in Idlib, the Kremlin said.

“The (Syrian) regime’s violations of the ceasefire in Idlib and its attacks have led to a serious humanitarian crisis,” the Turkish presidency said.

“These attacks are detrimental to efforts to control the Syrian conflict.”

Syrian and Russian forces have been waging a four-month bombing campaign on Idlib, the last major jihadist stronghold in the country.

The escalation has killed more than 860 civilians, according to the Observatory, and displaced more than 400,000 people, according to the United Nations.


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