Erdogan announces Syria summit for March 5

ISTANBUL (AFP) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said he would hold a summit with the leaders of Russia, France and Germany on March 5 to discuss the escalating violence in Syria’s last rebel enclave of Idlib.

The announcement comes a day after two European Union heavyweights France and Germany called for a four-party summit involving the Turkish and Russian leaders.

“We will come together on March 5 and discuss these issues,” Erdogan said in a televised speech to his party supporters in the western province of Izmir, following a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and a tele-conference with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel last Friday.

Erdogan did not say where the summit would take place but speaking to reporters after last Friday’s prayers, he confirmed that Macron and Merkel proposed a Syria summit in Istanbul and that Putin was yet to respond.

A months-long offensive by Russia-backed Syrian troops against rebels backed by Turkey in northwest Idlib has seen close to one million civilians flee the violence.