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Putin, Erdogan discuss Syria ahead of ceasefire deadline
Putin, Erdogan discuss Syria ahead of ceasefire deadline

Moscow, Oct 22 (TIWN) Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday began negotiations on the situation in northeastern Syria hours before the expiry of a ceasefire between Turkey's armed forces and Kurdish militias.

The two were expected to discuss Turkey's insistence on the creation of a "safe zone" in parts of Syria where Turkish troops have been fighting Kurdish forces.  Ankara has warned that the offensive against the Kurds will resume if they do not withdraw from certain areas by the time a US-brokered ceasefire deal expires on Tuesday night.  Russia -- a crucial ally of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad -- has demanded that Turkey respect the country's territorial integrity and Putin was likely to seek commitments from Erdogan on Tuesday.  "The most important thing for us is achieving long-term stability in Syria and the region," President Putin's foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov told reporters ahead of the talks.  "We believe this can only be achieved by restoring the unity of Syria."

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