On July 26, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. As was anticipated ahead of the talks, their agenda was dominated by Syria and bilateral Russia-Turkish relations. The need for the meeting was motivated by serious concerns on part of the Turkish leadership over the situation around Idlib as well as the Kurdish issue in Syria. Ahead of the meeting, the two presidents had a few phone conversations where these issues were thoroughly discussed.
Turkey is preoccupied by the low-profile talks between the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Damascus that may result in the PYD maintaining its power in northern Syria. Turkey considers the PYD to be a terrorist organization. Facing the possibility of a US drawdown from Syria, the Kurds seem to be inclined to negotiate their future status with the Syrian regime.