Russian President Vladimir Putin leaves on a working visit to Ankara on Thursday to meet with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. One of the topics the two leaders plan to discuss will be the situation in Syria, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
According to the Kremlin spokesman, Putin’s visit to Turkey pursues purely pragmatic goals. Russia and Turkey, in his words, have close trade and economic, investment, cultural and military-technical cooperation, and also implement megaprojects. “Besides, the countries cooperate in ensuring regional security, including in Syria,” he said, adding that the two leaders will “synchronize watches on all these issues.”
Addressing a Bloomberg business forum, the Turkish leader also confirmed that he plans to discuss with Putin the situation in Syria’s Idlib.
In May, the Syrian ceasefire guarantor nations, namely Russia, Iran and Turkey, signed a memorandum on de-escalation zones in Syria. As of today, three such zones – in southwestern Syria, in Eastern Ghouta (a Damascus suburb) and around the city of Homs – are already functioning. The fourth one embraces the province of Idlib and parts of the neighboring Aleppo, Latakia and Hama provinces.
The two leaders had a telephone conversation on September 25 to discuss the results of the latest round of the Astana talks on Syria. Apart from that, they raised the issue of Iraqi Kurdistan’s independence referendum. “This issue was discussed in the telephone conversations,” Peskov confirmed without elaborating.
“In this case Russia’s stance did not see any changes, we still believe that maintaining territorial and political integrity of the states is extremely important for stability and security in the region, as well as for the settlement of the acute problems that are in abundance in the (Middle East) region,” he said.