ISTANBUL (Reuters) - The head of the Turkish armed forces, General Hulusi Akar, was visiting Russia on Tuesday to discuss military cooperation and regional developments with his Russian counterpart, the Turkish military said in a statement.

Russia and Turkey, a NATO member, are backing opposing sides in the Syrian conflict. In recent months they have been normalizing ties that broke down a year ago when Turkey shot down a Russian warplane along its border with Syria.

(Reporting by Nevzat Devranoglu and Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by David Dolan)