Iran, Russia and Turkey held talks Wednesday to harmonies efforts to bring peace to the country, whose conflict has entered its 10th year.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said there was “no military solution” for Syria, during the video conference with his Russian and Turkish counterparts.
Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced newly imposed US sanctions that he said were aimed at “suffocating” Syria, while Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for peace and security to be restored in his country’s southern neighbor.
The talks were the first since September in the Astana format, three-way talks between the key foreign powers in the Syrian conflict.
Rouhani told the conference that “the Islamic republic believes the only solution to the Syrian crisis is political and not a military solution.”
“We continue to support the inter-Syrian dialogue and underline our determination to fight the terrorism of Daesh (the Arabic acronym for the ISIL terrorist group), Al-Qaeda and other related groups,” he said.
“I emphasize that the fight against terrorism will continue until it is completely eradicated in Syria and the region in general.”
Putin raised similar concerns. He said the objective of the conference was to analyze the situation and agree on steps “to ensure the long-term normalization in Syria”.
“Above all, it is a question of continuing the fight against international terrorism,” he said.
“The most tense situation is still being observed in territories outside the control of the Syrian army, particularly in the de-escalation zone of Idlib and in northeastern Syria”.
“We need to actively help advance an inclusive inter-Syrian dialogue,” said the Russian leader.
Putin also denounced as “illegitimate” a new raft of US sanctions against Syria.
He stressed “the negative impact of the sanctions put in place against Syria, bypassing the UN Security Council”.
The Caesar Act, which took effect in mid-June, punishes under US law any company that works with the Syrian government.
“Despite the call from the UN Secretary-General for easing the pressure of sanctions under pandemic conditions, Washington like Brussels decided to prolong measures against Syria,” Putin told the conference.
Erdogan said Turkey’s “fundamental priorities are to safeguard Syria’s political unity and territorial integrity, restore peace on the ground and find a lasting political solution to the conflict.”
“We will continue to do what we can to restore peace and security to our neighbor Syria as soon as possible,” said the Turkish president.
After delivering their opening statements, the three presidents were to discuss Syria in private.
Putin said Iran, Russia and Turkey had drafted a joint statement “reflecting the harmonized approaches of the three countries towards further action”.
“Among other things, it set out the task of destroying terrorist groups once and for all and advancing the political process,” he said.