The meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan will not be easy, but both sides intend to keep a course on a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Syria, said Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Russian President. The Kremlin representative also commented on Erdogan's request to Russia to "step aside". He reminded that Russian forces are in the country at the invitation of Damascus.
"Yes, in the middle of the week, March 5th or 6th, the meeting will take place in Moscow. We count on it, it is being prepared now. It will certainly be a difficult meeting, but the heads of state reaffirm their focus on the settlement of the situation in Idlib and their commitment to the Sochi agreements. This is important," Peskov said on Rossiya 1 TV channel.
The Kremlin spokesman added that during the conversation the two presidents will need to "reconcile their views" on the implementation of the Sochi agreements.
Peskov also said that Erdogan's request to Russia to "leave Turkey and Syria one on one" is illogical. " According to Peskov, “Russia is acting at the request of the legitimate Syrian leadership. All other military forces are in Syria in violation of the norms and principles of international law".
Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Russia to step aside and leave Ankara and Damascus "one-on-one." The Turkish leader stressed that Ankara would continue the offensive in Syria.
Late in the evening of February 27, the Turkish military was bombed by Syrian Air Force. According to media reports, 33 soldiers were killed and 32 wounded in the attack. In response, Turkish ground forces and aircraft carried out a series of attacks on the Syrian army.