General

Turkey says Erdogan will meet Putin on Monday for Syria talks

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

will meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday, officials

said, amid rising international concern over a looming Syrian government

assault on a rebel-held province bordering Turkey.

President Erdogan will meet with Mr Putin on Monday, Turkey's Foreign

Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a televised press conference on Friday.

The meeting will take place in the Russian resort city of Sochi, a senior

Turkish official told AFP.

Russia-backed forces of the Syrian regime have massed around the Idlib

province in recent weeks, sparking fears of an imminent air and ground attack

to retake the last major opposition bastion.

UN agencies and relief organisations have warned repeatedly that such an

assault could spark one of the worst humanitarian disasters of Syria's seven-

year war.

Turkey has intensified negotiations with Russia to avert a possible attack,

repeatedly calling for a ceasefire.

However last week Erdogan and Putin failed to agree on a ceasefire at a

three-way summit in Tehran which also involved Iranian President Hassan

Rouhani.

Russia and Iran are key allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's

regime.

Turkey however backs opposition fighters seeking the ouster of the Syrian

leader, and has said a large-scale offensive against the rebels could trigger

a mass exodus towards its border.

Cavusoglu on Friday said Turkey was ready to cooperate with anyone in the

fight against terror groups in Syria, but criticised the Damascus regime for

using the presence of jihadists groups to legitimise a possible operation in

Idlib.

We are ready to cooperate with everyone in the fight against terror groups

but the killing of civilians, women and children under the guise of fighting

against terror is not correct, he said. We cannot bring peace that way.

Idlib's most powerful armed faction is the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)

jihadist group, which Ankara officially designated a terrorist group last

month.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)