ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey's president says his government is working with Russia to try and evacuate some 500 people from a besieged, rebel-held Damascus suburb.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters Sunday that some 500 people in eastern Ghouta, including some 170 women and children, are in urgent need of humanitarian or medical assistance.
The government has refused to allow hundreds of people to leave the area to reach hospitals just minutes away. Eastern Ghouta is home to some 400,000 people.
Erdogan said he discussed the issue during a recent call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Turkish leader said: "We want to take them (from eastern Ghouta) and provide them treatment and care in our country."
Turkey is a leading supporter of the Syrian opposition, while Russia is allied with President Bashar Assad.