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Putin admits: Syrian army suffered heavy losses in Idlib

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) makes a speech during a joint press conference with President of Russia Vladimir Putin (R) following an inter-delegation meeting at Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Russia on 5 March 2020. [Sefa Karacan - Anadolu Agency]
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) makes a speech during a joint press conference with President of Russia Vladimir Putin (R) in Moscow, Russia on 5 March 2020 [Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his meeting on Thursday with Putin in Moscow Russian President Vladimir Putin has admitted the massive losses that al-Assad's regime has suffered in the Idlib battles. At the same time, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his hope to reach de-escalation measures in Syria.

"The situation in Idlib has become tense to the point that requires direct talk between us," said Putin at the beginning of his meeting with Erdogan in Moscow on Thursday, stressing on the need to discuss the entire situation to overcome this tension and work on evading it, in order not to damage Russian-Turkish relations.

The Russian President justified the killing of the Turkish soldiers in Idlib by saying that "the Russian and Syrian military was not aware of the location of the Turkish soldiers, and the Syrian army has also suffered great losses during this period."

Putin addressed his guest, Erdogan, saying: "As you requested, we are ready to start talking face to face, and then officials of the Russian and Turkish governments will join us later."

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He described the situation in Idlib as very complicated, and requires a meeting between him and the Turkish President to discuss it, adding, "We must talk about the situation in Syria completely to prevent the recurrence of what happened in Idlib and to avoid damaging the Russian-Turkish relations."

Erdogan stressed that "Turkish-Russian relations have reached their peak since a while ago in the defence fields. We are working to develop them further, and we hope to reach de-escalation measures in Syria."

"The steps we will take today, and the correct decisions that will be issued will resolve the situation in the region," added Erdogan, indicating that "the crisis in the region is huge and any decision we will take will affect it."

Erdogan pointed out to the strong Turkish-Russian relations, stressing that working to develop these relations is "an important matter."

"Our relations have now reached their peak, and this applies to defence industries and commercial relations. We consider that the primary mission is to develop these relations, and I believe we can do that," explained Erdogan.

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