Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday to discuss the situation in northern Syria, where Ankara has vowed to resume its offensive against Kurdish fighters if they do not complete their withdrawal from the border region.
“The situation in the region is very serious”, Putin told Erdogan at the start of their talks in Sochi, hoping that their meeting would “solve the most difficult issues”.
“The situation in the region is very difficult, and we see and understand everything.
I think that our meeting today is in place, and our consultations are very much needed”, Putin said during a meeting with his Turkish counterpart in Sochi.
Putin expressed his hope that the high level of Russian-Turkish relations will play an ideal role in settling all outstanding issues in the region, and will allow us to find common solutions to the outstanding issues of Turkey and all the countries of the region, including the interest of all parties.
For his part, Erdogan expressed his hope to reach an agreement today benefiting all parties, “I thank President Putin…
I think this meeting will be beneficial to our countries and the interests of our two countries.
This meeting will contribute to strengthening relations and contacts between us and I believe we will be able to reach an agreement today.
We’ll continue the process of springing peace in detail.
Meanwhile, a Turkish security source said on Tuesday that Kurdish militants would withdraw initially from 120 kilometers along the Syrian-Turkish border.
The security source added that the question of the withdrawal of Kurdish forces from the rest of the Syrian-Turkish border will be discussed during President Erdogan’s talks with Russian President Putin in the city of Sochi.
The Turkish presidency has threatened to resume operation “spring of peace” in northeast Syria, after being suspended for 120 hours under the agreement concluded between the Turkish side and the United States on the 17th of this month, if the Kurdish forces do not withdraw from the border area of Syria-Turkey.
Ankara and Washington have agreed to establish a 444-kilometer (324-mile) safe zone in northeastern Syria, encompassing all areas east of the Euphrates, including parts of Raqqa and Deir Ezzor.
Turkey, on October 9, amid widespread opposition and criticism from the Syrian authorities and the governments of many Arab and Western countries, launched a military operation called the “spring of peace” in northeastern Syria “to clear these territories of terrorists”, referring to the Kurdish “YPG”, which it considers Ankara is an arm of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and is active within the Washington-backed Syria Democratic Forces as part of the campaign against ISIS.