Moscow, March 2 (IANS) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will pay a working visit to Moscow on Thursday to discuss the situation in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin said on Monday.
Over the last two weeks, Erdogan at least twice publicly suggested meeting Putin, but the Kremlin denied that Putin agreed to the proposal, Xinhua news agency reported.
On Friday, Putin and Erdogan held a telephonic conversation and agreed to consider the possibility of holding a top-level meeting in the near future.
The Syrian army, backed by Russian airstrikes, succeeded in recapturing the strategic city of Saraqeb in the eastern countryside of Idlib on Monday, four days after losing it to Turkish-backed rebel groups, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Tensions in Idlib have flared up recently as the Syrian government forces, which are launching wide-scale offensives against the rebels in the area, exchanged fire with Turkish troops, causing multiple deaths on both sides.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the current situation in Idlib, saying that it would become clear after the meeting between Putin and Erdogan, adding the Russian and Turkish militaries have maintained close contacts.
He also said Moscow is committed to the Sochi agreement on Syria reached between Russia and Turkey in 2018.
Peskov said Russia''s position during the upcoming talks "will be absolutely consistent and unchanged" from what was "stated at various levels by both President Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, as well as an interdepartmental delegation that has worked with Turkish colleagues in recent days".