Erdogan, Vladimir Putin bargain influence zones in Syria at Moscow meeting

The border regions east of the Euphrates River, Syria, are controlled by the U.S. and its Kurdish allies. Russia wants Assad’s military forces to take over Kurdish-held border regions, following the planned U.S. troops withdrawal from the area.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in Kremlin, Moscow, for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday war-torn Syria.

The leaders, Putin and Erdogan, called each other “dear friend” while exchanging greetings at the start of the talks.

They share strong opposition to the U.S. military presence in Syria, and see it as an obstacle to their clout in the war-torn country.

The governments of Turkey and Russia bargained over influence zones in Syria.

Turkey is backing forces fighting against Assad in the nearly eight-year conflict.

Russia and Iran are pro-President Bashar Assad regime and supporting militarily to win back control of most of the country.

Russia wants Assad’s military forces to take over Kurdish-held border regions east of the Euphrates River, following the planned US troop withdrawal from the area.

Turkey strongly supports the creation of a 32-kilometer “safe zone” in northeastern Syria to ensure that Syrian Kurdish militia being supported by the United States is kept away from the Turkish border.

Turkey considers Syrian Kurdish militia as a terrorist group for its ties to Kurdish rebels inside Turkey.

Moscow has signaled it could be open for discussions on the Turkish push for carving out the zone.

It also warned that the Syrian government takes over areas. Currently the border regions east of the Euphrates River are controlled by the U.S. and its Kurdish allies.