Turkey's Erdogan to visit Moscow after convoy targeted in Syria
Turkey’s president will meet his Russian counterpart just days after a Turkish convoy was hit by an air raid in Idlib province in Syria. [File: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP]
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Moscow on Tuesday for a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the Turkish presidency has said, days after a Turkish convoy was nearly hit by air raids in the Syrian province of Idlib.
Friday’s announcement came as Syrian forces, backed by Russia, continue to make advances into the last rebel stronghold in Syria‘s northwest region that borders Turkey. Since late April, Syria and Russia have escalated their bombardment of Idlib, with more than 500 civilians being killed in the hostilities, according to the United Nations.
A spokesman for the Kremlin confirmed the August 27 meeting, telling the Interfax news agency that the talks would take place during the Maks international airshow, located about 40 kilometres outside of Moscow.
Turkey has been a vocal opponent of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and backs rebels fighting for his removal. However, Ankara last year struck a deal with Moscow to protect the Idlib province from a potential government offensive.
‘Urgent measures’ needed
On August 26, air raids nearly hit a Turkish military convoy heading through Idlib province. Turkey’s Defence Ministry “strongly condemned” the attacks and said they were contrary to “existing agreements as well as our cooperation and dialogue with Russia”.
The ministry called for “urgent measures” to prevent a repeat of the incident.
At the time, Turkey said the convoy was heading to one of its observation posts in Morek in northwest Syria, but the Syrian government said it had entered the country carrying ammunition to help opposition fighters who have lost ground this month in the offensive.