Russian, Turkish, Iranian leaders to gather in Tehran for summit on Syria

TASS – The presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran will gather in Tehran on Friday to hold the third summit on Syrian settlement.

The first trilateral meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was held in Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi on November 22, 2017, followed by another summit in this format in the Turkish capital Ankara on April 4. The sides adopted a joint statement expressing plans to continue this effort at the high level.

Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said the leaders are to focus on the situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone and the expected chemical provocation in the area.

“The leaders are expected to pay great attention to the situation along the de-escalation zone in Idlib, where the remnants of the terrorists of the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia – TASS) are concentrated, especially of Jabhat al-Nusra. Recently, the militants have become more active there by launching numerous attacks and using homemade drones in particular against the Russian base,” the official said. “They (the three leaders – TASS) will also touch upon the possibility of various provocations staging the use of chemical weapons by Damascus.”

The September 7 summit will begin with introductory remarks by the three presidents, made in the presence of the media, then the discussion will continue behind closed doors.

Besides, Putin will hold bilateral talks with Erdogan, Rouhani and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran on the sidelines of the event.

Speaking about the issues, which are expected to be touched upon at the talks with the Iranian supreme leader and the president, Ushakov pointed out that “there will be both Syria and various aspects of bilateral cooperation, along with the situation with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), taking into account the US’ withdrawal from the deal.”

According to Ushakov, Putin and Erdogan will focus on bilateral cooperation and “will have a specific conversation about the situation at the Syrian platform.”

Important meeting

Ushakov described the trilateral summit of Russia, Turkey and Iran as an important event in the Syrian reconciliation. He said the meeting would focus on the current stage of affairs, measures for long-term settlement in the country and practical measures in the fight against terrorism.

The sides are expected to discuss promoting the intra-Syrian dialogue on the basis of the UN Security Council resolution 2254 and “efforts to put into practice the decisions made during the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi.” Measures to help Syria return to peaceful life and issues of humanitarian assistance to the country will also be discussed.

Situation in Idlib

Idlib is the only Syrian province still controlled by illegal armed groups. In 2017, a de-escalation zone was established in the region, where militants reluctant to lay down their arms can move together with their families. According to United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, Idlib currently hosts about 10,000 militants from the Jabhat al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda terror groups (both outlawed in Russia). Russia expects the United States to facilitate the separation of opposition members from terrorists in the Idlib province but it has not happened yet.

According to earlier reports, terrorists active in Idlib are making preparations for staging a chemical weapons attack that could be blamed on Damascus, providing the West with an excuse for another aggression against Syria. Reports proving these plans say that the United States has been increasing the number of cruise missiles deployed to the Middle East. Washington denied those reports.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that barrels of chlorine and munitions had been delivered to Idlib, while members of the White Helmets, which had been involved in the staged chemical weapons incident in the Syrian town of Douma in April, were getting their cameras ready.