Putin, Erdogan to Convene for Talks on Idlib Peace Efforts

Russia, the main military backer of the Syrian government, has so far agreed with rebel-sympathetic Turkey that groups recognized as terrorist organizations are not included in ceasefire efforts

Russia's President Vladimir Putin shaking hands with his Turkey's counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan during their meeting in Tehran, Iran, September 7, 2018
AFP

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to host his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday to discuss peace efforts for Syria's Idlib region, where a major Syrian government offensive against a rebel stronghold appears imminent.

The meeting, held in the Russian city of Sochi, is expected to continue talks from an Iran-hosted summit last week, during which Putin dismissed Erdogan's proposal for a complete ceasefire in Syria.

Russia, the main military backer of the Syrian government, has so far agreed with rebel-sympathetic Turkey that groups recognized as terrorist organizations are not included in ceasefire efforts.

Turkey has repeatedly warned of the grave humanitarian crisis that could erupt should Assad mount his assault on the rebel enclave.

Situated near the Turkish border in Syria's north-west, Idlib is the last remaining rebel stronghold after seven years of the devastating conflict in the country.

As Syrian state forces were poised to invade Idlib, Russia accused militants of conducting attacks and said it was preparing humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians.