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Turkey and Russia 'working towards solution' to Syria crisis

More than 300,000 people have been killed and millions forced to flee their homes [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 December, 2016

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Despite backing opposing sides in the Syrian conflict and holding differing views on Assad's fate, Turkey and Russia are reportedly working to find a solution to end the six-year war.
Turkey and Russia are working to find a solution to the Syrian crisis, Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has said.

The two countries, which are backing opposing sides in the six-year conflict, now "understand each other better than before" on the issue, Yildirim told Russian news agency RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

He said Ankara, as a mediator between Bashar al-Assad's regime and opposition forces, had made a serious contribution and intends to continue its efforts to end the bloodshed in Syria.

"But the regime representatives are not honest on this issue," he said, "it would be useful for Russia to be more effective against the regime, but we are continuing our common efforts," he said.

"We need to enable the ceasefire and extend help to the harmed people," he added.

Turkey launched the ambitious Euphrates Shield campaign in Syria in August, aiming to clear its border with the war-torn country of Islamic State militants and Syrian Kurdish fighters, which Ankara views as terrorists.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly pushed for the toppling of Assad as the only solution to end the Syrian war and had, until recently, vehemently criticised Russia's military support for his forces and even accused President Vladimir Putin of war crimes.

But since the deal to normalise ties between Turkey and Russia, after Turkish forces shot down a Russian fighter jet in November last year, Ankara has been muted in its criticism of Russia's actions – in particular the devastating battle for Aleppo.

More than 300,000 people have been killed and millions forced to flee their homes since Syria's conflict erupted in March 2011 with protests calling for Assad's ouster.

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