Turkey, Russia seek Idlib consensus in Tehran

Turkey, Russia seek Idlib consensus in Tehran

Turkey, Russia seek Idlib consensus in Tehran

Erdogan said it is crucial to maintain Idlib's current status and argued the United States offers support to "terrorist groups" in Syria.

Syrian and Russian jets struck anti-Assad forces in Idlib on Friday as the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey - the three main nations with boots on the ground in the war-torn country - started their summit meeting in Teheran.

Among them were positions of the HTS and Ahrar al-Sham groups, the observatory said.

Neighbouring Turkey has limited sway over the jihadists who control an estimated 60% of the province but it backs rebel groups there and has 12 military "observation points" across the province. The attacks prompted terrified residents to flee before a fully-fledged assault gets under way, said the monitor.

"Fighting terrorism in Idlib is an unavoidable part of the mission of restoring peace and stability to Syria", Rouhani told the summit in Tehran.

At the end of the Tehran Tripartite Summit, the Iranian, Turkish and Russian presidents issued a joint statement, reaffirming their determination to continue cooperation until the eradication of terrorist groups in Syria.

Though President Donald Trump has previously expressed a desire to pull U.S. forces out of Syria, Jeffrey said the President "is on board" with the new approach.

Worldwide calls for restraint grew Wednesday for Syria and its allies, Russian Federation and Iran, to avoid a bloodbath and humanitarian disaster in Syria's Idlib province.

The White House has warned that the United States and its allies would respond "swiftly and vigorously" if government forces used chemical weapons in the widely expected offensive. "Any offensive is to us as objectionable as a reckless escalation".

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On Wednesday, Trump warned the Syrian regime that "the world is watching" and expressed concern about the 3 million civilians living there.

"Our goal is to resolve the situation in Idlib according to the spirit of the agreements we made in Astana", Erdogan added, warning that "mistakes in Idlib may derail the political process in Syria". The terrorist group has lost most of the territory it once held there, but US and coalition forces continue to try to rout them from their remaining pockets in the Middle Euphrates River Valley.

Elsewhere in his address, Rouhani said joint efforts made by regional and world countries as well as the United Nations have contributed to almost ending war and bloodshed in Syria, stopping acts of terror in the country and preventing their long-term regional and global consequences.

The final statement of the summit between Russia, Turkey and Iran has already been finalized by senior representatives from the countries, according to Hossein Jaberi Ansari, Iran's top negotiator in the discussions.

Iranian fighters have provided critical support for Assad throughout the war.

Their previous meetings in Sochi and Ankara established so-called de-escalation zones in several areas, including Idlib, that temporarily reduced violence.

In regaining control over other parts of Syria in the a year ago, Russian-brokered surrender deals offered safe passage for tens of thousands of rebels and their families to Idlib, which is why the province became the last bastion of the armed resistance.

All these agreements were later violated, however, as Syrian troops backed by Russian Federation and Iran moved to retake those areas after strafing them with artillery and air strikes - a pattern which could be repeated in Idlib.

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