Turkey, Russia, France and Germany plan to hold a meeting on Syria in Istanbul, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters upon his return from New York, where he participated in the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.
"We will hold a four-party summit in Istanbul, which will involve Turkey, Russia, Germany and France. Preliminary talks on this issue have already taken place, now a date needs to be fixed," Erdogan said, as cited by the Haberturk TV channel.
The Turkish leader also said that he had "thoroughly discussed the Syria issue with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov" on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. When speaking about prospects for resolving the situation in Syria’s Idlib province based on the agreements Turkey and Russia had reached in Sochi, Erdogan said that the situation was developing in accordance with those agreements. "As many as 50,000 to 60,000 people have returned to their homes in the Idlib province, and it is a very good thing. I hope it will continue this way. If our joint efforts with Russia prove successful, then we will be able to start a reconstruction process in Syria," he added.
As for a possible offensive on Idlib, which Ankara considers to be unacceptable, Erdogan noted that "Vladimir Putin has made some assurances in this regard." According to the Turkish president, it is not safe to say that there will be no offensive but "there are no such plans at the moment."
Erdogan also said that he placed "particular importance on the withdrawal of heavy weapons belonging to radical groups" from Idlib. He said that "the heaviest burden is being carried by Turkish intelligence agencies" but "the work is going well.".