Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Vladimir Putin to discuss Turkey’s offensive in Syria, hours before a 5-day cease-fire between Syrian Kurdish militias and Erdogan’s government was set to expire.
This meeting was widely expected to center on the thorny aftermath of Turkey’s military operation and the rapidly shifting Syrian map of control, as U.S. troops withdraw and competing factions rush to fill the void.
“These are very critical days in the region”, - Erdogan said after being greeted by Putin. - “The Peace Spring operation and this meeting will create very important opportunities”.
"The situation in the region is very acute, we see it and we hear it. I think our meeting and consultations today were very much needed", - added Putin.
Turkey has threatened to restart its military offensive if the Kurdish fighters do not fully withdraw from a predetermined area along Syria’s northern border with Turkey by Tuesday evening. If the withdrawal is completed, Ankara has agreed to permanently halt its offensive, which is aimed at creating a vast buffer zone for Turkey along much of its border with Syria.