Russian foreign minister in Ankara to discuss latest Syrian offensive and regional developments

Russian foreign minister in Ankara to discuss latest Syrian offensive and regional developments

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrives in Turkey today to hold high-level discussions with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, regarding

Foreign Ministers Zarif of Iran, Lavrov of Russia and Cavusoglu of Turkey gather for a family photo following their meeting in Moscow

Photo: Reuters/Grigory Dukor

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrives in Turkey today to hold high-level discussions with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, regarding the rapidly shifting outlook in Northern Syria.

A major issue of concern for both parties will be the Assad regime’s plan to launch a major assault on the rebel-held northern province of Idlib, which lies near the Turkish border and has long been designated as a de-escalation zone by Iran, Russia and Turkey. Ankara is expected to urge Moscow to not support such an operation, which has the potential to threaten Turkish forces deployed for the purposes of de-escalation. President Erdogan’s more centralised power and stronger rhetoric criticising matters of international economic and political affairs are expected to reinforce this.

The situation comes at a tense time for Turkey, which is also dealing with economic sanctions from the US and a full-blown currency crisis. The high-profile economic and political spat between the two NATO allies has the potential to cause a rift, which Moscow could leverage for greater influence in Ankara. Whilst both Russia and Turkey face considerable economic challenges, the potential for greater economic cooperation between them, in light of recent US action, is a strong possibility in the medium-term.

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