The leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Turkey have gathered in the Turkish city of Istanbul to try and find a lasting political solution to the conflict in Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are due to take part in four-way talks in Istanbul on Saturday.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura , who is stepping down at the end of next month for family reasons, is also taking part in the summit.

The four leaders are also expected to extensively discuss a ceasefire in the northern province of Idlib, the last major terrorist-held bastion in Syria.

They are expected to issue a joint statement ahead of individual press conferences.

The Turkish president held bilateral meetings with his Russian and French counterparts on the sideline of the summit.

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, speaks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during their meeting at Vahdettin Mansion in Istanbul on October 27, 2018, prior to a summit on Syria. (By AFP)

 

The summit comes a month after Ankara and Moscow brokered a deal to create a demilitarized zone in Idlib region, home to three million people.

The deal stipulates a demilitarized zone of 15-20 kilometers in Idlib along the contact line between the armed opposition and Syrian government troops by October 15. It also involves the withdrawal of “radically-minded” militants, including the al-Nusra Front, from the region.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.

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