Putin pushes Erdogan to fight Al-Nusra in Syria’s Idlib province

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, 23 January 2019. [Kremlin pool/EPA/EFE]

Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday (23 January) after which the Russian leader said the two men had discussed how they planned to stabilize the situation in Syria’s Idlib province.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier on Wednesday that the situation in the region, where Moscow and Ankara have tried to create a de-escalation zone, was rapidly deteriorating and that it was almost under the full control of Nusra militants.

Russia says Turkey has key job of separating out militants in Syria's Idlib

Russia hopes for a peaceful resolution of the situation in Syria’s rebel-held province of Idlib but believes it is up to Turkey to separate Islamist militants from the moderate opposition, Russia’s Syria envoy said on Tuesday (11 September).

Putin said the Russian and Turkish defence ministers had already held talks on specific action that the two countries would take in Idlib and that the measures, which he didn’t describe, would now be implemented.

“Unfortunately there are many problems there and we see them,” said Putin, standing alongside Erdoğan.

He said Turkey was doing a lot to try to remedy the situation, but that more action by both Ankara and Moscow was required to “liquidate the actions of terrorist groups.”

Putin said he had agreed to host a summit soon where Russia, Turkey and Iran would discuss the situation in Syria. He did not name a date for the summit, but said he and Erdoğan had agreed on its provisional timing.

The Russian leader also complained about the difficulty of forming a UN-sponsored constitutional committee for Syria, saying that France, Germany and Britain had blocked the proposed make-up of the committee in December, a move he said had come as a surprise for Moscow.

EU appeals to ‘Astana guarantors’ to avoid Idlib catastrophe

Commenting on the decision by Russia and Turkey to create a “demilitarised” zone in a rebel-held Syrian region, the EU called on Tuesday (18 September) on the “Astana guarantors”, Russia, Turkey and Iran, to respect civilians as a matter of priority.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Subscribe

Want to know what's going on in the EU Capitals daily? Subscribe now to our new 9am newsletter.