Putin, Erdogan meet over Syria issue | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 14, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:21 AM, November 14, 2017

Putin, Erdogan meet over Syria issue

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Sochi yesterday, with efforts to bring peace to Syria set to dominate the agenda at the Black Sea Resort.

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

"Our relationship has been restored almost to its full capacity," Putin said ahead of the talks, adding that he was glad to see the Turkish leader.

"I am sure our meeting today will be very effective," Erdogan said.

"The main talking point will be the situation in Syria -- the functioning of de-escalation zones and the continuation of the process of political settlement," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said ahead of the meeting.

The pair last met in Ankara in September, when they agreed to push for the creation of a "de-escalation" zone in Syria's key northern province of Idlib, in addition to others already proposed.

Russia, along with Iran, is the key backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Moscow's military intervention in Syria is widely seen as tipping the balance in the conflict.

Turkey, however, has backed the rebels seeking Assad's ouster.

- 'Mutual need' -

Moscow and Ankara have supported negotiations in Kazakhstan's capital Astana from the start of the year, which have run parallel to talks taking place in Geneva with the backing of the United Nations.

 

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