On October 18, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said during the Valdai Discussion Club’s 15th Annual Meeting, which was held in the coastal city of Sochi, that his country will not persuade Iran to withdraw its forces from Syria.
Putin stressed that the withdrawal of Iranian forces from Syria will be possible only if the Damascus government gets security guarantees, including ending of any interference in its internal matters. The president added that Russia is ready to participate in talks between Damascus, Tehran and the U.S. on this issue.
“As for the complete withdrawal [of Iranian forces], this is a separate topic, it should be resolved through the dialogue between Iran and Syria, Iran and the United States. And we are also ready to be participants in this discussion,” Putin said, according to the Russian news agency Sputnik.
Since the beginning of this year, the U.S. has stepped up its economic and political pressure on Iran, while Israel has increased its military operations against Iranian forces in Syria. However, these measures only escalated the tension in the war torn country. The downing of the Russian Il-20 intelligence plane is a clear example of that.
Despite the failure to force Iran out of Syria, the U.S. and Israel appear to be stuck in their old policies. Putin’s call for talks over this sensitive issue may be the first realistic chance to solve it.