Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke on the phone to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Syria’s besieged Eastern Ghouta on March 4, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported, citing presidential sources.
The phone conversation came as attacks by the forces of the Bashar al-Assad regime continued on civilians in the opposition-held area near the capital Damascus, despite decisions to implement a ceasefire made separately by Russia and the U.N. Security Council.
The two leaders agreed to intensify top-level diplomatic talks to implement a ceasefire and to pave the way for providing humanitarian aid to civilians in the region, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on talking to the media.
During the phone conversation, Erdoğan also mentioned the trilateral summit of leaders from Turkey, Russia and Iran, which is due as early as April, stressing the importance of the formation of a constitutional committee, as was decided at the Sochi congress, to contribute to the revival of Geneva process.
Speaking about Turkey’s ongoing “Operation Olive Branch” in the Syrian district of Afrin, Erdoğan reportedly told Macron that the operation was aimed at eradicating the threat to the Turkey’s national security as well as contributing to people’s peace in the region.
Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” on Jan. 20 along with elements of the FSA to remove Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants from Afrin.
Speaking to Macron, Erdoğan also reportedly condemned the terror attack on the French embassy and cultural center in Burkina Faso on March 2.