Four-way Syria summit to convene on Oct 27 in Turkey
A first-of-its kind summit with the participation of leaders from Turkey, Russia, Germany and France will be convened in Istanbul on Oct. 27 in which recent developments in Syria with a special emphasis on Idlib, as well as projections for a political settlement will be discussed in depth.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will attend the four-way summit, presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın announced in a written statement on Oct. 19.
“The summit will aim to address the Syrian conflict with all its aspects, focusing on the situation on the ground, the Idlib agreement and the political process and to harmonize joint efforts for finding a lasting solution to the conflict,” Kalın said.
The office of the French president also confirmed the venue and the date of the summit while highlighting efforts to avoid fresh refugee inflows, to maintain the ceasefire in the Idlib province of Syria and to give a momentum to the peace talks between them as the main issues to be raised at the meeting.
Four leaders are expected to discuss the latest developments in the field and will concentrate on the United Nation’s efforts to accelerate a bid for a political settlement with the involvement of Syrian regime and the opposition groups.
The summit will follow a successful deal between Turkey and Russia that prevented a major military offensive into the rebel-held Idlib province. The deal, which had set Oct. 15 as the deadline, suggests the removal of all radical groups from a 15 to 20 kilometer-wide demilitarized zone in the province. Although there are still terrorists who have not pulled back from the zone, Turkey and Russia have agreed to extend the timeline for the implementation of the deal.
The Syria government had threatened to use force in the last rebel-held bastion in order to further consolidate its control on western Syria. Idlib is home to nearly 3.5 million people and there are concerns a major strike into the province would bring about a big humanitarian tragedy as well as a new refugee inflow into Europe via Turkey.
The idea to hold such a four-way summit had first been brought to the agenda in early July by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a bid to coordinate Turkish-Russian efforts with that of the French-German duo, the two most powerful European nations. France and Germany are part of the United States-led Small Group on Syria while Turkey and Russia are part of the Astana Process with Iran.
Erdoğan had suggested to hold this four-way summit in early September but had to delay it due to the developments in the Syrian theater. Chief foreign policy advisors of these four countries had met in Istanbul in recent weeks to discuss the modalities and the agenda of the upcoming leaders’ summit.