On September 29, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan concluded their summit in the resort city of Sochi in southern Russia without announcing a new agreement on the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib.
The unstable situation in Greater Idlib was one of the main topics discussed by the two leaders during the three-hour summit. Turkey maintains a large force in the region where al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham is in charge.
During the summit, President Erdogan praised the joint work with Russia on Syria after stressing that Turkish-Russian relations are vital for any peace process in the Middle East.
“The strengthening of the Russian-Turkish bilateral relations will be of great use,” Erdogan said, according to the TASS news agency. “Our joint steps in Syria are of great significance, the peaceful settlement in this region depends on bilateral relations between Russia and Turkey.”
From his side, President Putin said that while his meetings with Erdogan were not always without problems, the two countries are able to reach resolutions between them.
The Russian President also praised the cooperation with Turkey which helped solve the recent Azerbaijan-Arminian conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Furthermore, Putin revealed that Turkey’s investment in Russia had reached $1.5 billion and Russia’s in Turkey currently stood at $6.5 billion.
Many observers expected that the summit will see the birth of a new Russian-Turkish agreement to resolve the issue of Greater Idlib. However, the summit ended without any announcement or even a press conference..
The situation in the Syria region is slowly spinning out of control. A Russian-Turkish ceasefire agreement reached last year is barely holding up. Russia stepped up its airstrikes on terrorists in the region in the last two months. In response, Turkey pushed more troops into the region.
Without a new agreement, a military confrontation will likely break out in Greater Idlib very soon. Russia and its allies in Syria will not likely tolerate the chaos in the region any longer. On the other side, Turkey appears to be determined to keep the situation in the region as it is.
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