On February 14 in the Russian city of Sochi, the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran held a meeting on the situation in Syria. The formation of the constitutional committee, the situation in the governorate of Idlib and the withdrawal of U.S. forces were the key discussed topics.
“Today we held the fourth summit. Such close coordination allows us to effectively carry out work aimed at achieving long-term normalization in the Syrian Arab Republic … Jointly with the partners, we identified key areas for further cooperation in resolving the Syrian crisis. The agreements reached on this issue were reflected in the final joint statement,” Russia’s President Putin said during a press conference following the meeting, according to Sputnik.
Regarding the situation in the governorate of Idlib, Putin reaffirmed that the demilitarized zone agreement is a temporary measure and vowed that the militants there would not go unpunished.
The Russian President also said that Russia, Iran and Turkey will assist the launch of the constitutional committee in Syria. He also confirmed that a progress has been made on this issue and stressed that the political process will facilitate the normalization between Syria and other Arab countries.
“We agreed to promote by joint efforts the soonest possible launch of the constitutional committee, which is designed to address the fundamental aspects of the future state structure of the Syrian Arab Republic,” Putin said.
From his side, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed that his country will not tolerate the emergence of a terrorist corridor on the Syrian-Turkish border following the upcoming withdrawal of U.S. forces. The Turkish President’s remarks were clearly aimed against the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
“Turkey will in no way allow the formation of a terrorist corridor on its southern borders. In this regard, we expect support from our Astana partners,” Erdogan said.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani also criticized the U.S. intervention in the Middle East, especially Syria, and said that it was not useful.
“America should reconsider its Middle East policy,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty quoted the Iranian leader as saying during the press conference.
While the three countries appear to be on the same side when it comes to opposing the U.S. intervention in Syria, major differences are very clear when it comes to other issues, especially the situation in Idlib.
According to the final statement of the Sochi summit, Putin, Erdogan and Rouhani will hold more talks on situation in Syria next April. U.S. forces should be withdrawing from the war-torn country by then.