Syrian government officials are negotiating with the armed opposition possible opening of another humanitarian corridor in the southern part of the Eastern Ghouta de-escalation zone, the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria said on Thursday. Continue reading
Russia understands Turkey’s concern regarding Syria’s Democratic Union Party and Self-Defense Forces units considered by Ankara a branch of Kurdistan’s Workers’ Party, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters after returning from the Sochi summit.
“We have clearly expressed our stance on the Democratic Union Party and the Self-Defense Forces,” the Haberturk TV channel quotes him as saying on Friday. Vladimir Putin shares our concern about the issue, but there is no similar attitude on the part of the United States and the international anti-terrorism coalition,” he stressed.
According to Erdogan, he “can hold a telephone conversation with Trump to ask him personally why arms continue to be supplied to the Kurds in Syria.”
“Where and why do they still supply weapons? They used to say that there are militants of the Islamic State there. However, this region has already been cleared of them,” the Turkish president noted.
The official opposition in Syria on Thursday insisted President Bashar al-Assad play no role in the interim under any UN-sponsored peace deal. Continue reading
Presidential Political and Media Advisor Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban stressed that Syria is adopting a constructive practical approach that believes in partnership, political dialogue and the common destiny of all the segments of the Syrian people, expressing the Government’s readiness to hold dialogue with whoever believes in the political solution to the crisis in Syria.
Commenting on the upcoming Syrian National Dialogue Congress, Shaaban told Sputnik Agency that “The success of the congress is based on making the armed groups realize that it is time to stop violence, hand their arms over and engage in a national dialogue that will lead to a comprehensive settlement of all issues related to the current crisis.”
Shaaban added “We are ready to hold dialogue with those who believe in the political solution to the crisis and the responsibility of the other side,” indicating that the desire of the “opposition” or even its ability to participate in a political process has not become clear yet.
The final statement of the tripartite Russian-Iranian-Turkish Summit on Wednesday called upon “representatives of the Syrian Government and opposition which is committed to Syria’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity to participate in a constructive way in the National Dialogue Congress to be held soon in Sochi,” indicating at the same time that the three states agreed on actively working on enhancing the success of the Congress.
Iraqi forces have launched an operation to clear the desert bordering Syria of ISIS, in a final push to rid the country of the terrorist group, the military said. Continue reading
Syria welcomed the final Statement of the tripartite summit held on Wednesday in the Russian city of Sochi.
“In light of the Syrian Arab Republic’s commitment to support any political step that respects the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria and contributes to sparing the blood of the Syrian people, the Syrian government welcomes the final statement of the tripartite summit held today in Sochi,” an official source at Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said.
The source added that the summit comes as a completion of the Russian-Syrian summit held on Monday and its outcomes regarding the agreement to continue the fight against terrorism, the basic principles to organize the political track for the crisis in Syria, hold a Syrian-Syrian national dialogue conference and form a committee to discuss the current constitution and later run parliamentary elections.
Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Fayssal Mikdad stressed that the summit meeting between President Bashar al-Assad and President Vladimir Putin is one of the most important meetings as it came before holding the tripartite summit in Sochi city in Russia and it conveyed a message that Russia stands by Syria and consults with it on sensitive issues.
In an interview with the Syrian TV on Wednesday, Mikdad commented on Sochi statement, saying that the language of the statement affirms the political sides which “we have dealt with over the past years, and it deals with issues of combating terrorism and the bases set to accomplish the political process.”
Answering a question on the UN role in the future political process in Syria, Mikdad said “We support the role of the UN in case it respects its Charter which embodies the sovereignty and the independence of the states and the noninterference in their internal affairs…when the UN practices its role on these bases we welcome it.”
“The committee to discuss constitution during the coming National Dialogue Congress in Sochi doesn’t have an official nature and it is a brainstorming process as the Syrian Arab Republic discusses its constitution according to the constitutional mechanisms adopted by the laws in force similar to the parliamentary elections which are conducted according to a constitutional mechanism and the ballot boxes,” Mikdad added.
He clarified that the battel against terrorism has almost reached the end and the remnants of Jabhat al-Nusra and Daesh terrorists and the groups affiliated to them will naturally decline, asserting that the battel will continue till fully eliminating terrorism.
Mikdad called upon the states which are part of the illegal US-led coalition to withdraw from it, calling upon the US at the same time to stop its operations in Syria and withdraw its forces from it, and to combat terrorism according to the recognized international mechanism.
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.
U.N. special envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura will visit Moscow on Thursday for talks on the situation in Syria, RIA news agency quoted him as saying on Wednesday. Continue reading