Turkey says Erdogan will meet Putin on Monday for Syria talks

Frederick Owens
September 15, 2018

Turkey's foreign minister says his country is still working for a peaceful solution for Syria's rebel-held province of Idlib, adding that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would hold talks with Russia's Vladimir Putin on Monday.

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.

"We had come (to Idlib) without anything", he said.

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria Chief Paulo Pinheiro made the suggestion yesterday, echoing UN peace envoy Staffan de Mistura's comments last week.

The UN has warned a full-fledged assault on Idlib could create the century's "worst humanitarian catastrophe", sending thousands more fleeing.

About half of those displaced so far have moved to camps, while others went to informal settlements, stayed with families or rented housing, OCHA spokesman David Swanson said on Monday.

Turkey deployed hundreds of its soldiers to the observation posts after a de-escalation agreement reached with Russian Federation and Iran past year to freeze the lines of the conflict, effectively placing Ankara as a protector of the province.

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Turkey has resumed arming rebel fighters in Idlib, which is braced for an imminent offensive by President Assad.

He called on Russian Federation to use its influence on the regime to avert a massive military attack, and prevent the use of chemical weapons by the regime. "We will continue our efforts on global platforms as well", he said. Turkey has also gathered forces on its own borders to deter Syrian civilians fleeing the fighting. We're ready to fight against terrorists, and we also want to achieve a political settlement of the Syrian crisis and are ready for cooperation in these issues.

Washington's threats to take military action to deter a Syrian assault on Al-Qaeda-held Idlib province has prompted Fox News host Tucker Carlson to ask the obvious question: Why would the United States bomb a country to protect terrorists?

Idlib's most powerful armed faction is the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) jihadist group, which Ankara officially designated a "terrorist" group last month.

Turkey has 12 military posts inside Idlib province, and activists reported on Thursday that Turkish reinforcements crossed over into Syria to fortify the installations.

Turkey stands to lose the most from a battle on its border that is sure to have a destabilizing effect on the country and areas it controls inside Syria.

Photo taken on September 11, 2018 shows a United Nationa (UN)'s Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria's Idlib province at the UN headquarters in NY.

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