Russia, Turkey, Iran discussed 'phased stabilisation' in Syria's Idlib
Leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran on Friday discussed a step-by-step "stabilisation" in Syria's Idlib, with a possibility of peace with some rebel groups, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after the talks.
"We have discussed concrete measures regarding a phased stabilisation in the Idlib de-escalation zone, which stipulate... a possibility of making peace for those ready for dialogue," Putin said after the summit in Tehran to discuss the fate of Syria's last rebel bastion.
Putin said that Russia hopes that its "call for peace in Idlib zone as well will be heard... we will strive for peace among all warring sides, and we have never factored in terrorist organisations."
"We hope that representatives of terrorist organisations will have enough common sense to stop resistance and lay down (their) weapons," Putin said.
A joint statement released after the talks gave few more details on the plans for Syria's Idlib.
The communique said the leaders "took up the situation in (the) Idlib de-escalation area and decided to address it in line with... the spirit of cooperation that characterised the Astana format".
The three countries are guarantors of the Astana process, a track of talks on Syria's civil war launched after Russia's game-changing 2015 military intervention, which led to the creation of de-escalation zones.
While Iran and Russia back the regime of Bashar al-Assad, Turkey backs opposition fighters and has warned against an offensive on Idlib that could turn it into a "bloodbath".
During the talks on Friday, Iran's President Rouhani said fighting "terrorism" in Idlib and the rest of Syria was "an unavoidable part" of restoring stability to Syria.
Throughout the seven-year conflict, the Syrian regime and its allies have designated many of their rebel opponents as terrorists in order to legitimise brutal attacks on them.
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