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Russia: No new Syria offensive
February 15, 2019, 10:39 am

The presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey have met several times in a bid to preserve Syrian sovereignty [PPIO]

The leaders of Iran, Russia and Turkey have signed a 17-point final communique outlining their trilateral approach to stabilizing Syria but Moscow says there will be no new offensive in the north.

Presidents Hassan Rouhani, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they were committed to “the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic”.

Meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in southern Russia, the three leaders also said that a US withdrawal of military forces from Syria would be a step toward stabilizing the war-torn country.

The three leaders, who have met several times in the past few years to discuss the security situation in Syria, also said they would continue to coordinate to create de-escalation zones to ensure security and safety for the country. In particular, they will focus on strengthening the de-escalation in the northern Syrian province of Idlib.

Iran said it was in favor of a new offensive to drive Islamist extremist forces like Daesh and Jabhat Al Nusra from Idlib, but Russia said that was not in the plans for now, and instead pointed to unspecified measures.

“We should not put up with the presence of terrorist groups in Idlib. That’s why I propose we consider practical concrete steps that Russia, Turkey and Iran can take to completely destroy this hotbed of terrorists.”

More importantly, they reaffirmed the need for a political solution to the Syrian crisis, including constitutional reform in tandem with UN efforts to reach a diplomatic breakthrough between the government and opposition forces.

The three countries all have military forces in Syria; Iran and Russia are backing Syrian President Bashar Assad’s hold on power, while Turkey would like to see him removed from power.

This has often bred tension between the three countries, particularly with the announcement that US forces may pull out.

At issue are safe zones which Turkey wants to establish without Assad’s consent.

The three leaders agreed to hold their next trilateral summit in Turkey.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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