MOSCOW (AP) — The Turkish and Russian presidents today sat down for talks in Moscow aimed at ending hostilities in northwestern Syria involving their forces and proxies that threaten to pit the two countries against each other in a direct military conflict
Both leaders underlined the need to reach agreement at the start of the Kremlin talks. Russian President Vladimir Putin said they they need to work out steps to end fighting and prevent damage to bilateral relations. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also voiced hope for finding a settlement and pointed at blossoming Russia-Turkey trade.
Until the latest crisis, Putin and Erdogan had managed to coordinate their interests in Syria even though Moscow backed Syrian President Bashar Assad while Ankara supported the government’s foes throughout Syria’s nine-year war. Both Russia and Turkey appear eager to avoid a showdown now also, but the sharply conflicting interests in Idlib province make it difficult to negotiate a mutually acceptable compromise.
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