Relations between Ankara and Moscow have deteriorated sharply in recent weeks due to the situation in Syria.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will travel to Russia on Thursday to discuss with Vladimir Putin the escalating tensions in north-western Syria, where Ankara is waging an offensive against the Moscow-backed Damascus regime. ” Our president will travel to Russia on March 5 for a day trip, ” said the Turkish presidency in a statement.
The announcement of the move comes as relations between Ankara and Moscow have deteriorated in recent weeks due to the situation in Syria.
On Sunday, Turkey announced that it had launched an offensive against the Bashar al-Assad regime in the northwest Idleb region, shooting down two planes and killing 19 Syrian soldiers.
This “ Spring Shield ” operation was launched after weeks of climbing. Last week, more than 30 Turkish soldiers were killed in aerial bombardments attributed by Ankara to the Syrian regime.
With support from the Russian air force, the Damascus regime has been waging a deadly offensive since December to retake the province of Idleb, the last rebel and jihadist stronghold in Syria. This offensive has caused friction between Ankara and Moscow. Even though Turkey supports certain rebel groups and Russia supports the regime, the two countries have been strengthening their cooperation on the Syrian issue in recent years.
On Saturday, President Erdogan summoned his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to “get out of the way ” from Turkey to Syria. Speaking on Sunday about a possible meeting between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said: ” It will undoubtedly be a difficult meeting, but the heads of state confirm their will to resolve the situation in Idleb ”.
The escalation in Idleb is raising fears of the international community, while the humanitarian situation there is already catastrophic. Since the start of the regime’s offensive in December, nearly a million people have been displaced in this border region of Turkey, an exodus of unprecedented scale in as little time since the start in 2011 of this conflict that killed more than 380,000 people.