Turkey, Russia agree on coordination in Syria amid US withdrawal
A meeting was held between Turkish and Russian officials on the Syrian peace process in Moscow on Dec. 29.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, intelligence chief Hakan Fidan and presidential aide Ibrahim Kalin attended the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov, Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev, and presidential aide Yury Ushakov.
"We will continue close cooperation with Russia and Iran on Syria and regional issues," Çavuşoğlu said after the meeting, adding that Turkey and Russia -- as guarantors of the Astana peace process -- are defending Syria’s territorial integrity and political unity from all efforts to harm them.
Lavrov, on the other hand, stressed that the two countries agreed on coordination of troops to eliminate terrorist threat in Syria, adding that the agreement also covered the need of intensifying the work to ensure repatriation of refugees.
Before the meeting, Çavuşoğlu said that they came to Russia to hold talks about the latest developments in Syria, and that Turkey, Russia, and Iran have close cooperation about Syria in the format of talks that began in Astana, Kazakhstan.
"Thus we’ve made important progress in many fields on the political process," Çavuşoğlu said.
"With our Russian partners, we will discuss what we can do in Syria. Especially our President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent us as he puts great emphasis on our relations with Russia on regional topics," he added.
"We will have the opportunity to discuss once again the situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone and in the demilitarization zone,” said Shoygu, for his part.
“In addition, we will talk about implementation of the agreements that we reached in Istanbul, the work done after that, as well as everything related to the Eastern Euphrates," he added, referring to an expected Turkish counter-terrorism in Syria targeting the YPG/PKK.