Vladimir Putin travels to Turkey to meet President Erdogan as Syrian endgame nears

Russian President Putin visits Turkey
Photo: EPA/Turkish Presidency
Russian President Putin visits Turkey
Photo: EPA/Turkish Presidency

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosts Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Ankara today, as the two heads of state seek closer bilateral ties and regional co-operation.

Discussion is likely to centre on the implementation of de-escalation zones agreed to in the latest round of Astana talks, which will see around 1500 observers from Turkey, Russia and Iran, deployed to a newly created Idlib zone for 6 months. Idlib is in the northeast of the country and home to over one million civilians.

The Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum will also feature prominently in today’s discussions. Turkey will not tolerate any status change along its southern border, and Erdogan has stated that it would undertake punitive air and border actions and cut the flow of oil out of northern Iraq in support of that policy. Erdogan is wary of a similar situation occurring in Syria and will undoubtedly petition Putin to ratchet up actions against Syrian Kurdish rebel groups.

While Russia’s focus remains preserving the Assad regime as the dominant party in any peace process, expect Turkey to continue agitating for action against Syrian Kurds, a point it will further press when meeting with Iran on Monday.

Delve deeper: The Future of Rojava

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