Trump, Erdoğan discuss Syria’s Idlib, Libya

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump discussed over the phone on Saturday the latest developments in war-torn Libya and Syria, Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The pair also discussed bilateral economic ties between the two countries, Anadolu said.

Erdoğan and Trump exchanged views on ways for an immediate end to the crisis in Syria’s last rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib, where the government forces of Bashar Assad, backed by Russia, have intensified efforts to take control.

The Damascus government launched an offensive on Idlib in April, saying that Turkey failed in removing extremist fighters from the de-escalation area as part of a 2018 agreement between Moscow and Ankara. 

Some 800,000 people have already fled to areas near the Turkish border, as Syrian forces intensified attacks on Idlib and recaptured some key towns, advancing toward Idlib City. 

The Turkish president and his U.S. counterpart stressed the importance of restoration of peace and stability in war-torn Libya, the agency said. 

Libya has been divided between two competing governments since 2015, one based in Benghazi in the east and the other based in Tripoli.

Erdoğan and Trump also agreed to resume talks to enhance economic relations and to achieve the target of $100 billion in bilateral trade, the agency said.

Turkey-United States relations have been strained following Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile defence systems last year and a series of foreign policy conflicts.