Russia, Turkey agree to scale down tensions in Idlib as Iran’s president proposes trilateral Tehran summit over Syria

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said Saturday that Iran is ready to host a meeting with the participation of the president’s of Iran, Turkey and Russia over the ongoing conflicts in Syria.

In a telephone conversation with the Turkish President Recep Teyyep Erdogan, Rouhani stressed the integrity of Syria and elimination of the “terrorist group” in the Arab state.

In the battle against the terrorists, the fate of the civilians is also at stake, he said.

These issues can be addressed in a summit of three countries which Tehran is ready to host, he added.

For his part, Erdogan also stressed the political solution to Syria conflicts, saying that the current situation of escalation of tensions in Idlib of Syria has put in risk the peace process that had already begun in the Syrian northern district.

Russia, Turkey agree to scale down tensions in Syria’s Idlib

 Foreign and defense officials from Russia and Turkey have reiterated their commitment to “reducing tensions on the ground” in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Saturday.

The agreement was reached during the last round of consultations between Russian and Turkish delegations held from Wednesday to Friday in Ankara, the ministry said in a statement.

It said both sides continue to consider concrete steps to achieve lasting stability in the Idlib de-escalation zone by ensuring the full implementation of the memorandums signed on May 4, 2017 and Sept. 17, 2018, respectively.

They would continue to fight terrorists identified by the United Nations Security Council, the statement added.

Civilians inside and outside the Idlib de-escalation zone must be protected and emergency humanitarian assistance must be provided to all those in need, it said.

Arab League calls for immediate cease-fire in northwestern Syria

Arab League (AL) Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit on Saturday called for “immediate cease-fire” between all warring parties in northwestern Syria, the Cairo-based pan-Arab organization said in a statement.

The AL chief warned against “the seriousness of escalated military confrontations resulting from regional and international interventions in the Syrian arena.”

Tension is growing between the Turkish and Syrian armies in the northwestern Syrian region of Idlib, the last stronghold of Ankara-backed Syrian rebels.

Turkey has recently announced the deadly attack on Syrian military positions in response to Thursday night’s air raids by the Syrian army on Turkish forces in Idlib, which killed at least 33 Turkish soldiers and wounded several others.

“Military escalation in northwestern Syria has formed a model of blatant violation of humanitarian international law and caused an unprecedented humanitarian disaster by displacing more than 1 million Syrians,” Aboul-Gheit said in the statement.

He also called for earnest negotiations sponsored by the United Nations to activate the political course and push for implementing the political process according to the UN Security Council Revolution 2254.

Meanwhile, Turkey has been sending military reinforcements to Idlib, while the Syrian army has been carrying out a military campaign backed by Russian air power to restore the northwestern region since December 2019.

Following the 2011 anti-government mass protests, the situation in Syria spiralled into a civil war of confrontations between pro-government forces and armed rebels and terrorists from the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

The forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are backed by Russia, Iran and Shiite militias loyal to Iran such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Since its eruption in March 2011, the Syrian crisis has killed half a million and wounded or displaced more than 14 million others.

Neighboring Turkey alone hosts some 3.6 million Syrian refugees.

EU members of UN Security Council demand halt of military escalation in NW Syria

The four EU members of the UN Security Council — Belgium, Estonia, France and Germany — plus Poland, which has left the council, on Friday asked for an immediate end to the military escalation in northwest Syria.

“The military escalation in Idlib must stop. It must stop now,” said a joint statement of the five countries read out by Sven Jurgenson, Estonian permanent representative to the United Nations in New York.

“We strongly condemn yesterday’s attack against Turkish forces operating in Idlib and reiterate our solidarity with Turkey. We offer our condolences for the death of Turkish soldiers,” said the statement.

The council scheduled an emergency meeting on the escalating conflict in Syria’s Idlib region, the last major opposition stronghold in the conflict-torn country.

The meeting was requested by Belgium, France, Germany, Estonia, Britain, the United States and the Dominican Republic.

Syrian government airstrikes reportedly killed 33 Turkish troops on Thursday, heightening tensions between pro-opposition Turkey and Syrian ally Russia.


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