Turkey asks for another summit with Russia on Idlib

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (L), Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (C) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) attend a press conference after meeting in Tehran on September 7, 2018. AFP PHOTO / SPUTNIK / Mikhail KLIMENTYEV

Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday he should hold another summit to discuss the situation in Syria’s Idlib province, where the two countries are trying to create a sustainable demilitarized zone, Reuters reported.

Erdoğan made the suggestion during a meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

The Syrian government’s ally Russia, and Turkey, which backs Syrian rebels, agreed in September to create a demilitarized zone around the insurgent-held northwestern enclave of Idlib. But exchanges of shelling have been common since then, and the first airstrikes since the deal hit the area on Nov. 25.

The Russian-backed Syrian army this summer had been planning a full-scale military offensive in the rebel-held Idlib, home to about 3 million people.

The United Nations had warned such an attack would create a humanitarian catastrophe in the region.

The armed rebel groups reportedly were hesitant to fully comply with the agreement due to the lack of trust for the Russian and Syrian armies.

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