Turkey's Erdogan to discuss possible operation in Syria with Putin: RIA

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is greeted by his supporters as he leaves a mosque after the Friday prayers in Istanbul, Turkey April 5, 2019. Cem Oksuz/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he planned to discuss a possible Turkish military operation in Syria when he visits Moscow for talks with President Vladimir Putin on Monday, Russia's RIA news agency reported.

Erdogan has vowed to crush U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters east of the Euphrates in Syria and said last year that preparations were complete for an operation.

Turkey, Washington's main Muslim ally within NATO, considers Syria's YPG Kurdish militia an enemy and has already intervened to sweep the fighters from territory west of the Euphrates in military campaigns over the past two years.

"Our preparations on the border are finished, everything is ready for an operation. We can begin it at any moment. I will discuss this issue among others face-to-face (with Putin) on my visit to Russia," Erdogan was cited as saying.

(Reporting by Andrey Kuzmin and Christian Lowe; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Hugh Lawson)