ZHUKOVSKY, August 27. /TASS/. Creation of a security zone on the Turkish-Syrian border will help to maintain Syria’s territorial integrity, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a press conference on the outcomes of the talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"We understand Turkey’s concern related to ensuring the security of its southern borders, and we think that these are lawful interests of the Republic of Turkey," Putin said. He added that during the talks on Tuesday, Erdogan explained his stance on the issue in detail.
"To our mind, the creation of a security zone on the southern border of the Republic of Turkey will serve as a good precondition for maintaining territorial integrity of Syria itself," the Russian president stressed, noting that Moscow supports de-escalation activity in the area.
Putin noted that Turkey is under considerable strain, having received over 3 mln Syrian refugees. "By the way, stabilizing the situation on the territory of Syria leads to many people returning home: over 300 thousand refugees have arrived from abroad, and 1 million internally displaced people have returned home," the Russian leader said.
On August 7, a delegation of the US military held a series of talks in Ankara, on the outcomes of which the parties decided to open a joint Turkish-US operation center. Its goal is to coordinate efforts between the Turkish and the US military to implement a plan on creating a buffer zone in the north of Syria, which would allow the Syrian refugees to come back from Turkey. The buffer zone will serve to protect the Turkish border. Talks on establishing such an area, which would include a no-fly zone, started back in 2013.