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Putin, Erdogan to discuss situation in northeast Syria

The two leaders will meet on October 22 in Sochi

MOSCOW, October 17. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to discuss the situation in northeast Syria with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a meeting in Sochi next week, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday.

"The United Nations has voiced serious concerns over the humanitarian situation and the flows of refugees to the neighboring states," Peskov said speaking about Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring in northeast Syria.

Peskov recalled that during his recent phone conversation with Erdogan, Putin also expressed concerns over possible humanitarian consequences of this operation.

"Our position is well-known and it has been unchanged. Nevertheless, certainly, the situation in northeast Syria is tense amid this operation and of course, this will be a vital issue on the agenda of talks on Tuesday in Sochi between Putin and Erdogan," Peskov said.

"There are issues for discussion, the talks will be held on Tuesday in Sochi," the spokesman said, commenting on the predictions on how far the Turkish forces could advance in Syria from the border.

According to Peskov, the two presidents also plan to synchronize watches on the current issues of bilateral relations.

On Wednesday, the Kremlin spokesman confirmed information from the Turkish leader’s office that the meeting between Putin and Erdogan was scheduled for October 22 in Sochi. On October 15, the two presidents had a phone conversation.

On October 9, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched an offensive in northern Syria, dubbed Operation Peace Spring, which began with airstrikes on Kurdish units. Turkey's objective is to establish a safety zone in northern Syria for the protection of the Turkish border. Ankara hopes Syrian refugees could return there from Turkey. The Assad government’s state news agency SANA slammed Erdogan's operation as an act of aggression. In addition, the world community condemned Ankara’s actions. On Sunday evening, SANA reported that Damascus had sent troops to northern Syria in order to counter Turkish forces.