ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted on Thursday as saying he agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting to continue working to find a solution in Syria’s Idlib, where violence recently escalated.
Turkey and Russia agreed to a ceasefire last year to end a Russian and Syrian army assault on Turkey-backed fighters in Syria’s Idlib region.
The ceasefire has prevented another major military escalation, but rebel fighters say Russia has stepped up air strikes around Idlib over the last week.
Turkish officials said before the meeting that Erdogan would press Putin for a return to a ceasefire.
Speaking to reporters on the flight back from the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Erdogan said he had discussed finding a “lasting, final and sustainable” solution to the situation in Syria.
Broadcaster NTV quoted him as saying Turkey was open to “any realistic and fair step” regarding the issue.
Erdogan did not give details on the discussion around Idlib, but NTV quoted him as saying Ankara and Moscow have worked together to solve issues that have come up in Idlib.
“We said let’s make an effort to solve these especially through phone diplomacy on the level of leaders (and), aside from that, joint work between our foreign and defence ministers, our intelligence agencies in the following process,” he was quoted as saying.
He added that Turkey had kept its end of the deal and expected Russia to do the same.
Neither leader made any detailed statements to the media after the talks, though Putin thanked Erdogan for the visit which he called useful and substantive.
(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu, Ali Kucukgocmen and Daren Butler; Editing by Jonathan Spicer)