On April 4, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and his Russian and Turkish counterparts, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a meeting in Ankara to work toward achieving a peace in Syria.
According to the joint statement issued after the meeting, the leaders “reaffirmed their determination to continue their active cooperation on Syria for the achievement of lasting ceasefire between the conflicting parties and advancement of the political process envisaged by UN Security Council Resolution 2254”.
“The main aim of tripartite summit is to rebuild Syria where the peace prevails,” Erdogan stated.
The leaders emphasized that there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict and they will continue the cooperation to eliminate terrorist organizations in the country.
During the summit, Rouhani said that when Daesh [ISIS], al-Nusra and other terrorist groups had been hit hard and were on the brink of annihilation, some sides kept arming them and enabled terrorists to continue their brutal actions against the Syrian people, including residents of Damascus.
Additionally, Rouhani blamed the USA for its military actions in Syria:
“The US government must respond to this question as to what it is doing kilometers away from its land in Syria. On whose request American soldiers are invited to Syria? The illegal US presence and military intervention in Syria are meant to increase tension and ultimately [lead to] fragmentation of the country”.
Erdogan expressed readiness to take action in the northern Syrian city of Tal Rifaat along with Russia and Iran to build a peaceful environment for its residents.
Erdogan, Putin and Rouhani stressed the importance on their “strong and continued commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity, territorial integrity and non-sectarian character of Syria”.
The Russian president drew the attention to the post-conflict restoration of Syria and the improvement of de-escalated areas. Putin welcomed Erdogan’s initiative to launch joint humanitarian efforts in Syria.
Rouhani addressed the situation in the region of Afrin, where the Turkish military had been engaged in the operation against Kurdish armed groups saying that Afrin must be handed over to Syria’s army:
“The developments in Afrin can only help achieve our common goals in the Astana process if they do not lead to a violation of the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of Syria, and if the control of these areas is handed over to the Syrian army, which, despite current confrontations, remains a symbol of the national sovereignty of the country”.
Finally, Erdogan Putin and Rouhani expressed their satisfaction with the results of the first year of the Astana meetings held since January 2017. The Astana format has been the only effective international initiative, which has helped to reduce violence across Syria, contributing to peace and stability in the country. The Syrian National Dialogue Congress, occurred in Sochi on January 30, 2018, also invested a lot in the political process.
The state leaders decided to hold their next meeting in Iran.