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Kremlin to Turkey: Syrian militant attacks must be stamped out

FILE PHOTO: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov speaks during a news briefing on the sidelines of the Russia-ASEAN summit in Sochi, Russia, May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/Files

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Monday that President Vladimir Putin understood the concerns of his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan, but that he was equally concerned about attacks by militants from Syria’s Idlib that needed to be stamped out.

Erdogan told Putin on Friday that attacks by Syria’s Russian-backed army in northwest Syria were causing a humanitarian crisis and threatening Turkey’s national security, the Turkish presidency said.

“Putin has repeatedly said he understands the concerns of our Turkish colleagues ... but at the same time the president remains ... concerned about the activisation of action by terrorist elements from Idlib that cannot be (left) without being stamped out and destroyed,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Andrew Heavens