Erdogan's Syria summit promises to restore 'security and stability'

Turkey, Russia, Iran vow to restore 'security and stability' in Syria
3 min read
04 April, 2018
The leaders of Turkey, Iran and Russia announced their dedication to 'protecting civilians' and finding a political solution to the conflict in Syria, despite their previous war-mongering actions.
The leaders put on a show of unity after talks in Ankara [Getty]
Turkey, Russia and Iran on Wednesday said they were committed to achieving a "lasting ceasefire" that will "protect civilians" in Syria, in a joint statement issued following a summit in Ankara hosted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Russia's Vladimir Putin reaffirmed their commitment to reviving the political process for peace and cooperating for "the achievement of a lasting ceasefire between the conflicting parties," a joint communique said.

Erdogan also announced on Wednesday that Turkey and Russia plan to set up a joint hospital in Syria's Tel Abyad for people fleeing Eastern Ghouta, according to Reuters.

Despite the leaders' ostensible peacemaking efforts, all three powers have played key roles in devastating military campaigns which have repeatedly targeted civilians.

The three powers have been working together to speed up the process of finding a political solution in Syria, in which they all vye for influence, as part of the Astana peace process which began last year.

The Ankara summit at Erdogan's presidential palace was the second such tripartite summit following one in November 2017 in the Black Sea resort of Sochi hosted by Putin.

Read more: If Zarif is serious about security, Iran's support for Assad must end

Erdogan insisted their meetings and the Astana talks were not an "alternative" to the UN-backed Geneva process to find peace in Syria. However the three leaders are visibly pushing for influence in the region while that of the West is waning.

But the three leaders said "the Astana format had been the only effective international initiative that had helped reduce violence across Syria and had contributed to peace and stability in" the country.

They added that it had given "impetus to the Geneva process in order to find a lasting political solution to the Syrian conflict" in the statement.

"What is foremost for us is getting results. We must get results. We have no tolerance for delays. People are dying here," Erdogan told reporters after the summit.

He issued a demand to the international community to support efforts to "restore security and stability" in war-torn and divided Syria.

He added that they had identified the steps to be taken in order to help Syria achieve unity and distance itself from terrorism.

Erdogan also told reporters that Turkey would not form an alliance with Kurdish forces in northern Syria in order to combat remaining pockets of the Islamic State group.

The three countries have been working together despite playing dominating roles on opposing sides of the civil war.

Read more: The future of northern Syria hinges on US-Turkey Manbij deal

Russia and Iran have provided military and political support to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while Turkey has repeatedly called for his removal and helped Syrian opposition fighters.

Turkey last month drove out Kurdish militia from Afrin city after launching a brutal cross-border offensive in the Syrian region in January, thanks to a reported green light from Moscow which controls airspace in northern Syria.

The next three way summit will take place in Tehran, Erdogan said, but he did not indicate when that would be.

Some 350,000 people have been killed since the start of the conflict following anti-government protests in March 2011. Millions more have been forced to flee their homes.

Turkey hosts over 3.5 million Syrian refugees, most of whom live in Turkish cities.