MOSCOW, February 29. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin informed his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in a phone call about the efforts taken in the war on terror in northwestern Syria, and the two presidents discussed the recent escalation in Syria’s Idlib, the Kremlin said in a statement on Saturday.
"At France’s request, there was a phone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron. [They] continued exchanging views about Syria, primarily with regard to a sharp escalation in the Idlib zone. Vladimir Putin informed the French president about the measures taken to battle terrorists in northwestern Syria," the statement says.
In addition, the two presidents touched upon the humanitarian situation in Idlib.
"Russia’s president pointed out that all the pressing issues of the Syria settlement are to be discussed in detail at the Russian-Turkish summit meeting in Moscow, scheduled for coming days," the Kremlin said in a statement.
Earlier, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Russian and Turkish presidents might hold talks in Moscow on either March 5 or 6. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu confirmed the timeframe adding that preparations for the summit meeting were underway, but said nothing about the venue.
Escalation in Idlib
The tensions in Syria’s Idlib region escalated on Thursday after militants launched a large-scale offensive, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. In the early hours of Friday, the Syrian government forces conducted strikes on their positions, which, as Ankara claims, killed 33 Turkish soldiers. In response, Turkey’s Air Force conducted strikes on the Syrian troops, later specifying that more than 200 targets had been hit.
The Russian Defense Ministry told reporters that the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham terrorist group (one of the names of Jabhat al-Nusra, banned in Russia) unleashed a large-scale offensive on Idlib on Thursday. The killed Turkish soldiers were among the advancing terrorists, the Russian Defense Ministry stated adding that the Aerospace Forces were not used in that area.