Fri, 20 Sep 2019

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to make a one-day official visit to Moscow on August 27 for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

Erdogan's office announced the planned visit on August 23 after he and Putin spoke by telephone about developments in northwestern Syria.

Erdogan's office said he told Putin that a Moscow-backed offensive by forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was causing a humanitarian crisis and posed a threat to Turkey's national security.

The Kremlin said Putin and Erdogan agreed during the phone conversation to 'activate mutual efforts' to ease the situation in Idlib Province where the surge of violence has forced tens of thousands of people to flee in recent days.

Turkey already has taken in more than 3.6 million refugees from Syria since the conflict began there in March 2011.

Since late April, Syria's government and Russia's military have been bombarding Idlib Province -- the last bastion for forces opposed to Assad's regime.

Russia and Turkey support opposing sides in Syria's conflict.

Russia helped reverse the course of the war in Assad's favor when it launched a campaign of air strikes against the Syrian president's opponents and increased its military presence on the ground in Syria in 2015.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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