Russia, Turkey and Iran Commit to Syria’s Territorial Integrity

Russian President Vladimir Putin, his Turkish and Iranian counterparts Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hassan Rouhani have displayed a commitment to Syria’s territorial integrity and agreed to resolve the protracted Syrian conflict through a political settlement.

In a trilateral meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Wednesday, the hosting Russian leader said there is a real chance to end the Syria’s civil war, which has raged on for more than six years, and ravaged the country while touching off a geopolitical proxy war between regional powers.

“The militants in Syria have been dealt a decisive blow and a real chance ha appeared to bring an end to many years of civil war,” President Putin said as he set the political settlement in Syria a new objective and a strategic task to be achieved for a lasting peace.

Aware of the complex nature of a solution, Mr. Putin called on all parties of the war to make “compromises and concessions,” as the leaders wrestled with the elusive task of finding a working resolution that could finally arrest the bloodshed that consumed Syria.

“We have agreed on an inclusive, free, fair and transparent political process under the leadership of the Syrian people,” President Erdogan said after the summit.

A joint statement was delivered at the summit, reflecting a shared commitment to stop the bloodshed in Syria. A special emphasis was ascribed to support the independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria.

The summit saw the release of a list of measures to expedite efforts for a political solution: an uninterrupted and secure humanitarian aid, release of detainees. The statement also called for efforts to identify missing persons on both sides of the warring parties.

The meeting came a day after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad secretly flew to Sochi to meet with the Russian leader.

The Syrian president confirmed his commitment to a political process which entails a new constitution and elections, Kremlin told Russian media after a call between the Russian leader and U.S. President Donald J. Trump.

“This trilateral summit is highly important for completely ending the bloodshed and tragedy that has been happening in Syria,” President Erdogan said.

“The world has witnessed the positive results of establishing a close working environment between Turkey, Russia and Iran on the Syrian issue,” he added.

Mr. Rouhani, on his part, hailed the talks as very useful, and said the trilateral talks between Iran, Russia and Turkey will help stabilize Turkey.

He said the three leaders supported the holding of Congress of National Dialogue between different Syrian factions in Sochi.

During at a parliamentary session in Ankara, Turkey’s Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said Turkey must remove a danger in Afrin, citing the presence of Syrian Kurdish militia control there.

The inclusion of Syrian Kurds to Syrian peace talks remains to be a divisive issue between the three countries, with Ankara adamantly opposing to the idea. Turkey sees Kurdish PYD as an extension of its domestic insurgent group Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

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