Putin begins talks with Erdogan on Syria with condolences for dead Turkish soldiers

FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting at Vnukovo II government airport outside Moscow, Russia March 1, 2020. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday began Syria ceasefire talks with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan by offering his condolences over the recent killing of Turkish soldiers in Syria’s Idlib region.

Putin, speaking alongside Erdogan at a meeting in the Kremlin, said the situation in Syria’s Idlib province had become so tense that it required direct talks between the two men.

Erdogan is in Moscow at a time when the Russian and Turkish militaries are facing off in a war that has displaced nearly a million people in three months.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Andrew Osborn