Erdoğan, Putin discuss Syria, Libya in phone call

Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin discussed the latest developments in Syria and Libya in a phone call on Wednesday.

Two leaders discussed the situation in Libya and confirmed their commitment to the deals signed between Ankara and Moscow regarding Syria's last rebel-held Idlib province and northeast Syria where Turkey aims to establish a safe zone, according to Kerim Has, an independent political analyst and researcher on Turkey-Russia relations.

Erdoğan also informed Putin about his meetings with western leaders during the NATO summit in London.

Turkey on Oct. 9 launched an offensive in northeast Syria aiming to drive the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) forces from the border region and create what Ankara calls a safe zone to settle Syrian refugees.

Ankara halted its advance after nine days following two separate agreements with Washington and Moscow. Under the Sochi deal with Russia, Kurdish forces would pull back 30 kilometres south of Turkey’s border with Syria and security forces from Turkey and Russia would conduct joint patrols there.

Meanwhile, Turkey opposes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces bombardment of rebel-held settlements in and around Idlib with the backing of Russian aircraft, saying that the attacks contravene a ceasefire agreement Ankara and Moscow signed last year and compromises the Turkish and Russian-backed Astana peace negotiations.

In Libya, Turkey backs the internationally recognised Islamist-rooted Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli while Moscow puts support behind the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by commander Khalifa Haftar.