For the fifth time, the Russian, Iranian and Turkish presidents have met for a summit to discuss a possible peaceful solution to the conflict in Syria. Iranian President Hassan Ruhani and his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin traveled to Ankara, the official residence of Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Before the talks began, the host Erdoğan said: "We all agree on the goal of finding a political solution to Syria's political unity and territorial integrity." In addition, the situation in Idlib in northern Syria, which is held by rebels, and "the problem of Syrian refugees." Turkey has taken in many Syrian refugees, but increasingly protests in the country. Erdoğan praised the cooperation of the three countries for a "lasting political solution".
Putin said that their joint efforts have contributed to a decline in violence in Syria. Putin and Ruhani said that Idlib should not be a "terrorist" retreat.
It is therefore difficult to solve the Syrian conflict politically, because Turkey, Iran and Russia are involved in this war on different sides: Iran and Russia support the ruler Bashar al-Assad and his government troops in Syria Turkey, on the other hand, supports opposition.
However, as Assad's position seems increasingly strengthened by military successes, the Turkish government now wants to increasingly prevent many more refugees from coming to Turkey: 3.6 million Syrian refugees are currently living in Turkey. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have moved towards the Turkish border to flee from air raids supported by Russia. Thus, the conflict in Idlib could lead to another flight to Turkey. At the summit meeting, the Turkish government wants to obtain, according to a communication, "conditions for a voluntary return of refugees" are created.
The Idlib region is considered the last refuge of the rebels, around three million people live there. For four months, the Syrian government has been conducting an offensive against insurgents in Idlib. The fighting has already killed nearly 1,000 civilians. Turkey also has twelve observation posts in Idlib, the security of which it fears in light of the advance of Syrian government forces.
Since 2017, Russia, Iran and Turkey have been trying to fathom the possibility of military de-escalation in Syria in the so-called Astana Trial. The formation of a constitutional commission is also to be discussed at this summit. Such a commission could be commissioned in Syria to draw up a new constitutional law for the post-war order.