Speaking to the press after his meeting with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts in Sochi on Wednesday, President Putin said the peace talks in Astana and the establishment of de-escalation zones in Syria have made possible a fundamentally “new stage” in the Syrian settlement, and helped secure a “breakthrough” opportunity to crush the terrorists.
In the course of their meeting, presidents Vladimir Putin, Hassan Rouhani and Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the progress that has been made in the Syrian settlement process, and the steps necessary to ensure the complete and long-term normalization of the political and security situation in the country.
A joint statement released by the three heads of state after their talks declared that the countries’ collaborative efforts in the 11 months since the establishment of the ceasefire regime in late December 2016 have helped to secure a “breakthrough” in “bringing closer the elimination of [Daesh], the Nusra Front and all other terrorist organizations as designated by the United Nations Security Council.” The countries vowed to continue their cooperation until the terrorists are completely defeated.
Furthermore, the leaders promised to continue their coordinated efforts in reaching a political settlement “to ensure that the progress in the reduction of violence is irreversible.” This includes political support for reconciliation talks between the government and the opposition, assistance to Syrians in restoring the country’s unity, free and fair elections and a work on a constitution that would enjoy the support of the Syrian people. Crucially, the three leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Speaking to the media after the talks, Putin observed that the “large-scale military operations against terrorist gangs in Syria are coming to an end,” adding that the joint efforts by Moscow, Tehran and Ankara have effectively saved Syria from disintegration and its capture by the jihadists, and the humanitarian disaster that would have accompanied that eventuality.