Turkish, Russian presidents to discuss Syria on Tuesday


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will pay a one-day working visit to Russia’s coastal city of Sochi to discuss Syria with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

The visit comes after Ankara launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

On Oct. 17, a U.S. delegation headed by Vice President Mike Pence paid a working visit to the capital Ankara, where they met Erdogan and discussed Turkey’s anti-terror operation. Following the meeting, the two sides reached a 13-article agreement on northeast Syria.

Turkey agreed to pause its Operation Peace Spring for 120 hours to allow the withdrawal of terrorist YPG/PKK forces from the planned safe zone.

Ankara wants to clear northern Syria, east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist group PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the YPG/PKK.

Amid the operation, Ankara is also keeping its high-level contacts with Russia and Iran which are trying to find a solution to the Syrian conflict.

Turkey, Russia, and Iran are guarantor countries which brokered a cease-fire in Syria in December 2016, leading to the Astana talks, which are running parallel to the UN-led Geneva talks.

During a trilateral meeting in Ankara on Sept. 16, Erdogan, Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reaffirmed their readiness to facilitate the launching of the Syrian Constitutional Committee, which will meet on Oct. 30 in Geneva.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced formation of a body to write a new constitution for Syria following more than eight years of war that have devastated the country and its people.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, more than half a million people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.
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