Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed on the need for a ceasefire in Syria “as soon as possible”, state media reported. Ankara is hoping a ceasefire will be implemented in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo for the Feast of the Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha) Islamic holiday which in Turkey begins around September 12.
Erdogan told Putin by phone on Thursday that it was essential to agree to a ceasefire in Aleppo “as soon as possible,” the news agency Anadolu reported. Both leaders agreed to intensify efforts to this end, it added.
Turkey and Russia remain on the two opposite ends of the Syrian conflict, with Moscow backing Assad and Ankara supporting the opposition fighting for his ouster.
The Turkish leader had met separately with Putin and US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the recent G-20 meeting in China, telling them both that it was essential to agree to a truce for Aleppo.
Russia and the United States were believed to have been close to an agreement at the G20 but Washington then admitted no deal could be announced for the moment.
Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for Erdogan, said Tuesday that the ceasefire could begin with a 48-hour-truce that would then be lengthened and would see both the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and opposition fighters halt fire.