Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the US and Russia should withdraw their troops from Syria in keeping with their belief that “no military solution” was possible in the war-torn country.
“If a military solution [in Syria] is out of the question, then those who say this [Russia and the US] should pull their troops out … and steps for a political solution should be taken,” Erdogan told the press before flying to Sochi for talks with Putin.
Erdogan made the remarks after Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump said in a joint statement on Saturday they would continue to fight against Islamic State in Syria, while agreeing that there was no military solution to the country’s wider, six-year-old conflict.
Russia has been a major backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while the US has been supporting the Syrian YPG Kurdish forces on the ground.
After more than four hours of talks with Putin in the southern Russian resort of Sochi, the two leaders had agreed to focus on a political solution to the conflict.
Putin said Russia would continue to work on Syria with Turkey and their efforts were yielding results: “The level of violence has definitely been reduced, favorable conditions are being created for the progression of an inter-Syrian dialogue.”