Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Turkey says Erdogan will meet Putin on Monday for Syria talks

Turkey says Erdogan will meet Putin on Monday for Syria talks

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu confirmed the Erdogan-Putin meeting during a joint press conference in Islamabad with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday.

According to the report, Turkey was represented by Ibrahim Kalin, Mr Erdogan's special adviser; Germany by its national security adviser John Hacker; France by Philipe Etienne, senior diplomatic counselor for French President Emmanuel Macron; and Russian Federation by Yuri Ushakov, senior adviser to Mr Putin.

The observation posts were set up in the Idlib region a year ago under an accord with Russian Federation and Iran designating Idlib and parts of neighboring provinces a "de-escalation zone".

An estimated 3 million people live in Idlib, almost half of them having arrived there after being displaced by fighting elsewhere in Syria.

Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and Chief of Military Staff Yasar Guler on Friday visited the provinces of Hatay and Gaziantep bordering Syria where the country has reinforced troops in recent weeks.

Turkey has resumed arming rebel fighters in Idlib, which is braced for an imminent offensive by President Assad. However, we are against hurting women, children and civilians at the pretext of the war on terror.

The UN has warned that such an offensive would lead to the "worst humanitarian catastrophe in the 21st century".

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Idlib and surrounding areas are home to almost 3 million people, half of them already displaced by violence in different parts of Syria.

The United Nations said that in the first 12 days of September, over 30,000 people have been internally displaced by an intense aerial bombing campaign.

Ankara, which hosts some 3.5 million refugees, has said it could not take any more if an attack on Idlib drove a new surge of people towards its border. "We will continue our efforts on global platforms as well", he said.

During this process, the Western powers and Turkey have expressed dismay and rejection of such an offensive in Idlib, talking about a possible new influx of refugees to Turkey and Europe and the negative repercussion of a new wave of refugees, taking into consideration that foreign jihadists might infiltrate the ranks of civilians and reach Europe.

"We will continue our efforts with Iran and Russian Federation". Both said the convoy was heading to two different observation points, one south of Idlib and another in the center.

Another proposal is to open humanitarian corridors through which civilians could leave to government-controlled areas, although that suggestion has yet to gain any traction.

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