Putin,Erdogan held meaningful discussions about defense cooperation

Putin welcomes Erdogan :File Photo

Russian President and his Turkish counterpart,Erdogan met in Moscow today,just days after Ankara said one of its observation posts in Syria was surrounded.

Military convoy was attacked by Syrian government forces in two separate incidents.

Both leaders have held discussions about a possible expansion of defence industry cooperation, even as differences appeared to remain over the situation in northwestern Syria, where a Moscow-backed government offensive has been going on since late April.

Speaking to reporters alongside Putin, Erdogan said the offensive has disrupted the calm that set in after Turkey and Russia – which back opposing sides in Syria’s war – agreed last year to turn rebel-held Idlib province into a de-escalation zone.

Erdogan said it was unacceptable that Syrian forces were “raining death on civilians from the air and land under the pretence of battling terrorism”.

“We do not want this to continue. All necessary steps will be taken here as needed,” he added. “The situation in Idlib has become so complicated that at this moment our troops are in danger.”

For his part, Putin said the two leaders had agreed on “additional joint steps” to “normalise” the situation in Idlib, but did not provide any details.

“The situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone is of serious concern to us and our Turkish partners,” Putin told the news conference, referring to the September 2018 deal between the two countries that prevented a major Syrian offensive on the enclave then.

Putin also said that his country was concerned about attacks by fighters in the zone, targeting the Syrian government forces and Russian positions, and asked Ankara to stamp out these attacks.

He repeated that Moscow did not want this region to be a “haven” for “terrorists”.