Turkey, Russia, Iran urge lasting Syria truce
The leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran have said they are committed to achieving a “lasting ceasefire” in Syria as guarantor countries, while also stressing on securing the territorial integrity of the war-torn country.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met in Ankara on April 4 for a second summit, during which the next stage of the Astana Process was discussed.
They “reaffirmed their determination to continue their active cooperation on Syria for the achievement of a lasting ceasefire between the conflicting parties and advancement of the political process envisaged by the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254,” according to a joint statement.
The presidents “rejected all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combatting terrorism and expressed their determination to stand against separatist agendas aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria as well as the national security of neighboring countries,” read the statement.
It emphasized the guarantor countries’ strong and continued commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity, territorial integrity and non-sectarian character of Syria and said “none of the actions, no matter by whom they were undertaken, should undermine these principles, confirmed by relevant U.N. resolutions and by the will of the representatives of all segments of the Syrian society.”
“As guarantor countries, we have a common understanding for Syria’s territorial integrity and rebuilding,” Erdoğan said at a joint press conference following the three-way summit on Syria with Rouhani and Putin in Ankara.
“We determined steps to be taken in the coming days and shared consultation,” Erdoğan said, noting that they will continue efforts without giving credibility to “traps, games and provocations.”
“Turkey will not stop until all regions under PYD/PKK [Democratic Union Party/Kurdistan Workers’ Party] control, including Manbij, are secured. We will never allow either Syria or our region to be attacked by some terrorist groups,” he stated, stressing that maintaining Syria’s territorial integrity depends on keeping distance from all terror groups.
“Turkey values Russia and Iran’s solidarity with its Afrin operation, we will establish grounds for peace in Afrin,” he said.
Erdoğan said he proposed the construction of new housing for Syrians returning in the “safe zones” established by the Turkish army. Another proposal he said he made was to build a hospital for the injured coming from Eastern Ghouta, a besieged Damascus suburb, in cooperation with the Russian armed forces.
Rouhani, for his part, said Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty should be the main objective. “The fight against terror should continue and the residuals of these groups should be removed from Syria,” he added.
Syrian people should decide on their own future through “constitutional reform efforts and free elections,” the Iranian president said.
Putin also supported the importance of Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and warned against attempts aiming “to fuel ethnic and sectarian clashes.”
He urged immediate humanitarian assistance to Syria and said it should not be “politicized.”
The three leaders discussed ways to realize decisions made in the National Dialogue meetings in Russia’s Sochi, Putin said, noting efforts to form a constitutional committee to establish Syria’s new constitution.