Turkey, Russia to Hold Talks Amid Final Hours of Ceasefire

Turkish President Erdogan and Russia President Putin are expected to holds talks in Sochi Tuesday to discuss the situation in northern Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to hold bilateral talks as the ceasefire in Syria enters its final hours.

According to an Al Jazeera report, Erdogan and Putin were expected to meet in Sochi Tuesday to discuss the ongoing escalation in the northern part of the country.

Erdogan reportedly suggested the offensive would resume following the 120-hour ceasefire if the Kurdish forces had not yet left the border area.

Turkish officials launched the offensive earlier this month, establishing what they dubbed a “safe zone” into northern Syria in an effort to purge the area of the Kurds.

Erdogan ultimately carried out the long-planned operation to resettle over two million Syrian refugees who currently living in Turkey, and purge the area of Kurdish forces- a group it considers terrorists.

Despite the calls for Kurdish forces to leave the “safe zone” Erdogan has suggested there could be as many as 1300 troops still in the area just hours before the ceasefire is set to expire.

This announcement comes days after President Trump sent a U.S. delegation to Ankara to broker a ceasefire between Turkish and Kurdish forces.

Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Turkey last week to hold negotiations with Erdogan, which resulted in the 5-day ceasefire.

Meanwhile, a delegation of American lawmakers traveled to the Middle East over the weekend for a surprise visit amid heightening regional tension.

Although Democrats touted the trip and dubbed it “bipartisan,” it only included one Republican- Texas Representative Mac Thornberry. 

The delegation of nine lawmakers reportedly discussed security, the Syrian ceasefire, and economic development. 

The ceasefire in northern Syria will expire Tuesday night at 10 p.m. local time.

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