Russia, Turkey agree to support safe zones in Syria
BEIRUT — The presidents of Russia and Turkey said on Wednesday they support the creation of safe-zones in war-torn Syria as a delegation of Syrian rebels walked out of cease-fire talks with the Damascus government underway in Kazakhstan, citing repeated violations of a similar truce agreed on in December.
Meeting in the Russian resort town of Sochi, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin expressed hope the Syrian government and rebels would adopt this latest proposal to “de-escalate” the conflict, which has run now for six years and claimed some 400,000 lives. Turkey and Russia are deeply entangled in the war in Syria, including each having troops on the ground there — Ankara supporting various Syrian opposition factions and Moscow backing President Bashar Assad’s forces. In Sochi, Putin said Russian and Syrian government jets would halt flights over the specified zones if all sides respect the cease-fire.