Russian army chief headed to Turkey for Syria meet

Russia's top army official is set to discuss the Syrian conflict Thursday with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara, a fresh sign of healing relations damaged by Turkey's shooting down of a Russian war plane last year.

General Valery Gerasimov will meet Turkey's Hulusi Akar to "discuss the current situation and the prospects of resolution of the Syrian crisis" as well as bilateral military cooperation, the defense ministry said.

Moscow and Ankara began to mend ties in August after months of crisis following Turkey's downing of a Russian jet on the Syrian-Turkish border, which saw Russia accuse Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of profiting from illegal oil trade with ISIS.

Gerasimov's visit had been expected in late August after Erdogan went to Moscow, but was then postponed.

Moscow has flown a year-long aerial bombing campaign in support of forces loyal to Syria's Bashar Assad, while Turkey has backed the opposition seeking to oust him.

However, Ankara has welcomed the fragile last-ditch Russia-U.S. truce plan agreed last week, which went into effect Tuesday and is supposed to halt fighting across areas not held by extremists.

Source: National News Agency