Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will discuss Syria in a phone call, the Kremlin announced on Tuesday.
“Yes,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, when asked if the phone call he announced earlier in the day would be between the Russian and Turkish leaders on Syria.
The announcement came against the backdrop of rising tensions following deadly attacks by the Assad regime on Turkish troops in Idlib.
Five Turkish troops were martyred and five more injured in shelling by regime forces in Idlib on Monday, following a similar attack last week martyring seven Turkish soldiers and a civilian contractor.
The Turkish troops are in Idlib – nominally a cease-fire zone under a deal between Turkey and Russia – as part of an anti-terror and peace mission.
Turkey has retaliated against the attacks under the rules of engagement and its right to legitimate self-defense, killing nearly 200 Assad military personnel since last week.
Idlib has been a stronghold of the opposition and anti-government armed groups since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.
In September 2018, Ankara and Moscow reached an agreement in Sochi, Russia, to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
But more than 1,800 civilians have been killed in attacks by regime and Russian forces since then, flouting both the 2018 cease-fire and a new one that started on Jan. 12.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently condemned the Assad regime attacks on Idlib civilians and Turkish troops.
He also urged Russia, Assad’s ally, to live up to the Astana and Sochi peace processes for Syria and do more to bring the attacks to a halt.