Putin Announced that Russia, Turkey Devised Strategy to ‘Tackle Militants in Northwest Syria and Normalize Situation’

  • On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that Russia and Turkey agreed to a strategy to “tackle militants in northwest Syria and normalize the situation there after a Syrian army offensive encircled rebel fighters and a Turkish military post.”
  • Putin made the announcement after meeting with President Tayyip Erdogan, who said “the Syrian army attacks in the Idlib region bordering Turkey have caused a humanitarian crisis and threaten Turkey’s national security.”
  • During a joint briefing with Erdogan, Putin said: “Together with Turkey’s president we have outlined additional joint steps to neutralize the terrorists’ nests in Idlib and normalize the situation there and in the whole of Syria as a result.”
  • However, Putin didn’t “mention Erdogan’s call for the Syrian army assault to be halted.”
  • Supported by Russian air power, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces “have been waging an offensive in the Idlib region, the last remaining rebel-held territory in Syria.”
  • Currently, most “of the region is controlled by jihadists linked to the former Nusra Front, which was linked to al Qaeda.”
  • Erdogan added that “it was unacceptable that Syrian forces were raining death on civilians from the air and land under the pretense of battling terrorism.”
  • Erdogan also noted that “Turkey had the right to self-defense on its border,” and said: “I conveyed our country’s determination on this matter personally to my dear friend Mr. Putin.”
  • According to reports, “Syrian troops have encircled rebels and a Turkish military post in northwest Syria in an offensive to reclaim territory and towns the government lost early in the war.”
  • The military observation post, which is located near the town of Morek, “is one of 12 that Ankara established in northwest Syria under a deal with Moscow and Tehran two years ago to reduce fighting between Assad’s forces and rebels.”
  • The United Nations has determined that “more than 500,000 people have been uprooted since the Syrian army began its offensive in late April, most of them escaping deeper into the rebel bastion and towards the border.”

Reference Links

  • Reuters: Russia, Turkey agree steps to tackle militants in Syria’s Idlib: Putin READ
  • Bloomberg: Putin Pitches New Warplane to Erdogan as U.S.-Turkey Ties Strain READ
  • France 24: Russia, Turkey balance interests amid Idlib offensive READ
  • DW: Erdogan and Putin meet as Syria offensive pummels Idlib READ

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