Erdogan tells Putin: Syria targeting Turkish-Russian ties by ceasefire violations in Idlib

FILE PHOTO - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks at North Atlantic Council Mediterranean Dialogue Meeting in Ankara, Turkey, May 6, 2019. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that the Syria government targeted the Turkish-Russian cooperation in Idlib by violating the agreed ceasefire, a statement from Erdogan’s office said.

Erdogan also told Putin that Syrian attacks on civilians, schools and hospitals in Idlib could not be seen as fighting against terrorism, the statement added.

The upsurge in violence in the Idlib area has strained a Russian-Turkish deal that had staved off a government offensive since September. The area is part of the last major foothold of the Syrian rebellion.

Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Lisa Shumaker