Erdogan, Putin discuss Syria, bilateral relations by phone - UPDATED

Erdogan, Putin discuss Syria, bilateral relations by phone - UPDATED
# 11 December 2019 22:34 (UTC +04:00)

Turkish and Russian Presidents, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin, held talks by phone on Wednesday focusing on Syria and bilateral relations, the Turkish leader’s administration said in a statement, APA reports.

"The talks focused on bilateral relations and regional issues, first of all the situation in Syria," says the statement.


The Turkish and Russian presidents will speak about Syria on the phone Wednesday night, said Turkey's presidential spokesperson, APA reports citing Anadolu Agency.

Speaking to reporters following a Cabinet meeting at the presidential complex, Ibrahim Kalin said Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will have a phone conversation about the situation in Syria.

Erdogan is also expected to co-chair the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva next week, Kalin said.

The first Global Refugee Forum, set for Dec. 17-18, will focus on such topics as burden- and responsibility-sharing, education, jobs, livelihoods, energy and infrastructure, solutions, and protection capacity.

On the possible return of Syrian refugees to a safe zone, he said it will be based on three main UN criteria, to ensure a "safe, voluntary, honorable return."

Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

Ankara wants YPG/PKK terrorists to withdraw from the region so a safe zone can be created to pave the way for the safe return of some 2 million refugees.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The terrorist YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.