Erdoğan, Putin discuss Syria truce, Astana talks over phone

Erdoğan, Putin discuss Syria truce, Astana talks over phone

Erdoğan, Putin discuss Syria truce, Astana talks over phone

AP photo

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed a cease-fire agreed by Bashar al-Assad’s regime and opposition groups, as well as the upcoming Astana talks, in a phone conversation on Dec. 29, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported. 

Erdoğan and Putin exchanged their views on the cease-fire agreement that is set to begin on Dec. 30, which could be brokered by the joint efforts of Ankara and Moscow as guarantor countries. 

The two leaders also spoke about the upcoming Astana talks expected to be held between the al-Assad regime and the opposition groups with the objective of facilitating a political transitional process to end six years of unrest in Syria. 

Turkey, Iran and Russia signed a joint declaration on Dec. 20 to launch a new process that would provide a nationwide cease-fire and a resolution to the conflict through political means. 

“In the wake of the situation in Aleppo, our country launched intense diplomatic efforts under orders from the president in early December to stop the clashes and facilitate humanitarian assistance,” İbrahim Kalın, a presidential spokesperson, said in a statement on the Erdoğan-Putin conversation.  

“In this sense, the Syrian opposition and representatives of the Russian Federation held talks in Ankara, which were facilitated by Turkey. The talks led to an agreement between the regime and the opposition. The agreement will enter into force across the country at midnight tonight [Dec. 30],” he added. 

Kalın said Turkey considered the cease-fire an important step in resolving the Syrian conflict.

“Along with the Russian Federation, we support this arrangement as a guarantor. Naturally, the ceasefire does not cover groups designated by the United Nations Security Council as terrorist organizations,” he said. 

“The arrangement aims to expand the cease-fire in Aleppo to other parts of Syria, secure uninterrupted humanitarian assistance and revitalize the political process. The president will continue to work toward the success of the Astana process,” he added.