(DESPARDES/PKONWEB) — Russian president Vladimir Putin has held secret conversations with the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as the two countries look to strengthen relations following the airstrikes on Syria launched early Saturday morning.
In a phone call on Saturday the two men discussed the military strikes carried out by the West as they vowed to work together to create a political solution to the Syrian civil war, the UK’s tabloid newspaper Sunday Express report.
The coalition (US, UK and France) led by the US, fired 105 Tomahawk missiles from guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey at three sites in Syria early Saturday morning local time, Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, director of the joint chiefs of staff, said Saturday at the Pentagon.
The airstrikes hit the Barzah Research and Development Center outside Damascus with 76 missiles and what the US military described as the Him Shinshar Chemical Weapons Complex outside the city of Homs.
The State Department on Sunday said in a tweet: “Our
#Syria strategy has not changed- we support a focus on the defeat of #ISIS and the #UN-led Geneva process- however, the Syrian regime has forced us to take action based on their repeated use of chemical weapons.”
A day earlier, statement released by the Kremlin said: “The Russian and the Turkish sides proceed from the fact that in the light of what has happened it is necessary to intensify bilateral cooperation aimed at real progress in the process of a political settlement in Syria.”
Putin has furiously denounced the strikes carried out on key military targets of the Assad regime.
The statement added: “The Russian President stressed that the actions of a group of Western countries grossly violate the UN Charter and the fundamental norms and principles of international law.”
Turkey and the US are long term allies and have previously worked together on the Syria crisis.
However, Moscow and Ankara have seen a warming of relations in recent years and increasingly worked together.
Earlier this month it was announced the two countries had started work on building Turkey’s first nuclear power station.
President Erdoğan has also signaled he may cooperate with Russia on defense projects besides an S-400 missile defense system which Moscow has already agreed to supply to Ankara.
Turkey signed an agreement to buy the S-400 system in late December in a move which raised concern in the West because it cannot be integrated into NATO’s military architecture.
However, despite the attempts of Russia and Turkey to come to a consensus on how to best work together in the Syrian civil war, President Erdoğan’s government have welcomed the missile strikes in Syria.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said the actions of the US, UK and France were an “appropriate response”.
They added the use of chemical weapons on civilians was a “crime against humanity” and should not be unpunished.
The airstrikes were carried out in response to an alleged chemical weapon attack last weekend.
Dozens were believed to be injured in the incident, with the West pointing the blame at the Assad regime.
However, the Syrian government and Russia have denied any attack took place.