Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expects to meet "face-to-face" with Russian leader Vladimir Putin at a four-way summit on Syria on March 5.
"In the worst-case scenario, we could meet with Putin at a date that we had earlier set — on March 5. We will have a chance to go beyond phone conversations and talk face-to-face," Erdogan told a news conference broadcast by NTV channel, TASS reports.
The Turkish leader stressed that the bilateral meeting with Putin could be held in Ankara and in Istanbul.
In comment on his phone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron held late last week, Erdogan noted that "Putin, Merkel and Macron did not fully agree" on the prospects of the Syrian settlement.
On February 21, Erdogan announced that Macron and Merkel offered Putin to hold a four-way summit on Syria on March 5 in Istanbul. However, the Russian leader has not yet endorsed the proposal. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted that "the possibility of holding the summit was being discussed," but "there were no clear decisions on that score at the moment."
The situation in Idlib deteriorated dramatically after Russian and Turkish militaries attempted to enforce another ceasefire. Instead, terrorists stepped up their attacks. As a result, military specialists from Russia and Turkey were killed. The Syrian government army took retaliatory actions against extremists and gained control of the city of Saraqib near Idlib on February 5.
In the morning of February 11, the Syrian opposition supported by Turkey launched large-scale attacks on Syrian troops on two fronts — the town of Saraqib and the community of Nayrab situated to the north of Saraqib in Idlib. The opposition’s offensive was carried out with the fire support from the Turkish artillery. Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists (outlawed in Russia) took an active part in the fighting.