Turkey says Erdogan will meet Putin on Monday for Syria talks

Clay Curtis
September 15, 2018

Turkey sent in military reinforcements Thursday to beef up its positions inside Syria's last rebel bastion Idlib, activists reported, even as the Turkish defense minister said Ankara is still trying with Russian Federation and Iran to prevent a humanitarian tragedy in the case of a threatened Syrian government offensive.

Although it opened its doors to Syrians escaping the fighting in the early years of the conflict, Turkey has since built a wall along its 900 km (560 mile) border with Syria.

The presidents of Turkey, Iran and Russian Federation met in Tehran last week but did not agree a ceasefire that would prevent an expected offensive.

The rebels have held Idlib province since 2015 but a government offensive captured chunks on the eastern flanks of the province a year ago before Turkey began deploying its observation points and halting the advances. We will continue our contacts soon: "President Erdogan will discuss the situation in Syria with President Putin on Monday", the TV channel NTV quoted Cavusoglu as saying.

The United Nations said that in the first 12 days of September, over 30,000 have been internally displaced by an intense aerial bombing campaign.

German Foreign Minister Maas warned that a large-scale military offensive by the Syrian regime would lead to a humanitarian disaster in Idlib, which is home to more than 3 million civilians.

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A pro-Assad source in Syria said: "There is patience and repositioning now. "Another migrant wave coming to Turkey at a time when we already host millions of refugees will cause other complications", he said".

Thousands of protesters attend a demonstration against the Syrian government offensive to Idlib, in the northwestern town of Maarat al-Numan, also known as al-Maarra, south of Idlib, Syria, Friday, Sept 14, 2018. He added that several hundred pro-Assad forces had withdrawn from frontlines in the northern Hama countryside.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor has previously said that Turkey attempted to pressure the LLC to dissolve itself but to no avail.

Lavrov promised: "We will establish humanitarian corridors, set up ceasefire zones and we are doing everything to ensure that the civilian population would not suffer".

He later said that the terror-labeled groups should turn in their weapons, and this specific detail seemed like another opportunity taken by Turkey to try to do something ahead of the anticipated military operation in Idlib, which is fully backed and supported by Iran and Russian Federation, both are the key allies of the Syrian government.

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