Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday he hopes to reach a cease-fire deal for Syria’s Idlib province during talks this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin.The two leaders are due to meet Thursday in Moscow.Turkey and Russia back competing sides in the Syrian conflict, which has increasingly turned violent in Idlib and sent one million people fleeing the area.Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday that Russia and Turkey are keeping lines of communication open as they focus on negotiations.On Sunday, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said though it is “successfully” continuing its military operation in northwestern Syria against the Russian-backed Syrian forces, the Turkish government has no “desire or intention to clash with Russia.”People check damage in a street following an airstrike by Syrian government forces in the town Maarrat Misrin, in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, Feb. 25, 2020.Meanwhile, U.N. investigators issued their latest report on the Syrian war Monday saying both Russia and Turkey may be liable for war crimes for their actions.The U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Syria said Russian forces carried out deadly airstrikes on a busy market in Ma’arrat al-Nu’man in July and on a civilian compound in southern Idlib in August.It also cited detentions, killings and beating of predominantly Kurdish residents in the area of the northern Syrian city of Afrin, and assigned blame to Turkey-backed Syrian National Army rebels.

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