On Monday, September 16, in Ankara, the fifth meeting of the heads of state - the guarantors of the Astana process to promote a Syrian settlement. Vladimir Putin, Hassan Rouhani and Recep Tayyip Erdogan exchanged views on further steps to normalize the situation in the SAR. In addition, the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey discussed the development of cooperation between the countries and discussed other important issues relating to the Middle East region.

On the eve of the summit, the heads of state also held bilateral meetings with each other.

“I believe that the Astana process, the guarantors of which are Russia, Turkey and Iran, is an effective mechanism to facilitate a Syrian settlement,” Putin said during his opening speech at the summit.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan also called this format the only effective decision-making platform.

Constitutional committee

The formation of the Constitutional Committee of the SAR, which will include representatives from the government, the opposition and civil society, is at the final stage. This was stated in Vladimir Ankara. According to him, now it is necessary that its members “should not be subjected to pressure from outside”, and the work of the body should be launched “as soon as possible”.

“Now it should be quickly launched his activities in Geneva, especially since the composition of the committee is finally completely determined,” the head of state said.

He also noted that extremists who earn money from the war may try to disrupt the work of the Constitutional Committee of the SAR, but Russia, Iran and Turkey will stop these actions.

“We proceed from the fact that the work of the Constitutional Committee will have a decisive influence on the final normalization of the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic. We talked about this many times and constantly repeated that there is no other alternative than the political process, ”Putin pointed out at the final press conference.

Earlier, the special representative of the UN Secretary General for ATS Geir Pedersen spoke about the almost complete completion of the work on forming the constitutional committee. He expressed the hope that the process will end in September.

The situation in Idlib

During the negotiations in Ankara, the aggravation of the situation in the de-escalation zone "Idlib" and Zaevfratye was also discussed. According to the President of Turkey, this topic became one of the central issues at the summit. According to Erdogan, due to the intensified hostilities in this region, about a thousand civilians were killed, and hundreds of thousands had to leave their homes.

"The most troubling situation is still the tense situation in the only remaining de-escalation zone" Idlib ", where the activity of terrorist organizations has recently increased," Putin added in turn.

According to the Russian leader, this territory should not serve as a springboard for extremists, therefore, additional efforts must be made in the fight against terrorism.

“We cannot, of course, come to terms with this, therefore we agreed with Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Rouhani to continue working together in the interests of the final removal of tension in Idlib,” the Russian president explained.

Hassan Rouhani, in turn, noted that terrorist groups have intensified not only in Idlib, but also in the area east of the Euphrates, which is under US control.

“We know who gives weapons to all of them,” said the Iranian leader.

Syria's territorial integrity and US actions

The heads of state - guarantors of the Astana process also indicated that their common principle is the preservation of territorial integrity, respect for national sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of Syria. They emphasized that all these points are neglected by the United States, which so far has not withdrawn its troops from the SAR, despite the promises of Donald Trump.

“It is vital that US forces withdraw from the region and the Syrian government regains control of all territories, including the northern and eastern Euphrates,” said Hassan Rouhani.

Vladimir Putin also noted that the presence of American troops in the United States is illegal, and expressed hope that the decision of the head of the White House to withdraw the military contingent will be implemented.

  • Russian delegation at the trilateral summit on Syria in Ankara
  • © Kremlin.ru

At the same time, the Turkish president pointed out the inadmissibility of supporting terrorist organizations under the pretext of combating the militants of the Islamic State *. We are talking about the fact that Washington is providing assistance to the Kurdish armed formations of the Democratic Union Party and the People’s Self-Defense Forces (SNA), which are recognized by Ankara as terrorist.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan also added that the Turkish side intends to independently form a security zone in Syria, if not agree with the United States. “Cities for refugees” will also be created on this territory.

“We need to create a city for their lives, so that they engage in gardening and farming. He explained to his colleagues that it was necessary to create infrastructure for them. It is necessary to prevent the formation of a terrorist corridor, ”the Turkish leader emphasized.

Attack on Saudi Oil Refineries

Despite the fact that the leaders of the three countries did not discuss during the summit the topic of an attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, this issue was raised by journalists during a press conference. Recall that responsibility for the attack on Saudi Aramco's factories was claimed by the Hussite Yemeni rebels.

According to Hassan Rouhani, the people of Yemen have the right to self-defense, given the flow of weapons entering Riyadh, which is subsequently used against the Yemenis.

At the same time, Recep Erdogan regretted that at present "Muslims are in conflict with Muslims."

“Recall who was the first to bomb Yemen? And we will see where it started, ”the Turkish president added.

Speaking about this situation, Vladimir Putin quoted the Koran: “Remember the mercy of Allah. You once were enemies, Allah tried on your hearts and made you brothers. ”

The Russian leader also noted that the Muslim holy book speaks of the unacceptability of any kind of violence, except for protecting some kind.

“Here, in order to protect our family, our country, we are ready to provide appropriate assistance to Saudi Arabia, it is enough for their political leadership to make a wise state decision, as the leaders of Iran did in their time by purchasing the S-300, and President Erdogan did it by purchasing from Russia -400. They will reliably protect any infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, ”Putin said.

The next meeting will be held in Iran.

As the Russian president noted, the tripartite summit on Syria in Ankara was "very productive and successful." A similar point of view was also expressed by the leaders of Iran and Turkey.

The heads of state also welcomed Lebanon and Iraq as new observers to the Astana process.

At the same time, in their joint statement, they indicated that Israeli military attacks on Syria would destabilize the situation and lead to "increased tension" in the Middle East.

“Participants reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Syria. These principles must be respected by all parties, and no actions should undermine them, ”the document says.

We add that the next summit will be held in Tehran. The capital of Iran for the second time will host talks on a Syrian settlement. The first meeting of the three presidents in the Islamic Republic was held in September 2018.

* “Islamic State” (IG) - the organization was recognized as terrorist by decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of December 29, 2014.