Politics, Middle East, top headline

Turkey, Russia, Iran back Syria's territorial integrity

Released after Sochi summit, joint statement agrees to coordinate activities to ensure Syria's security, stability

14.02.2019
Turkey, Russia, Iran back Syria's territorial integrity

By Sena Guler

ANKARA

The leaders of Turkey, Iran and Russia on Thursday expressed a firm stance against "separatist agendas" in Syria.

“The presidents expressed their determination to stand against separatist agendas aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria as well as the national security of neighboring countries,” read statement released following a trilateral summit on Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his Russian counterparts Vladimir Putin and Iran's Hassan Rouhani met in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi for the fourth time to discuss the situation in Syria.

They discussed the situation in northeastern Syria and “agreed to coordinate their activities to ensure security, safety and stability in this area including through existing agreements, while respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity" of the war-ravished country, according to the statement.

The summit addressed developments following the last meeting in September in Tehran, the statement said, adding the leaders stressed their determination to strengthen coordination.

“The presidents emphasized their strong and continued commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic as well as to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter,” it said.

They urged universal respect for the principles and said nobody should “undermine them.”

On the U.S. decision to withdraw troops from Syria, the presidents said the move would strengthen stability and security in the region if Washington implemented the decision.

U.S. President Donald Trump made the unexpected decision in December to withdraw all 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria, drawing criticism from many allies and security aides, including his own Cabinet.

Erdogan has since said Turkey is ready to assume a counterterrorism role in the war-ravaged country after the withdrawal. 

They also reaffirmed determination to continue cooperation to eliminate terror groups, including Daesh, Al-Nusra Front from the region.

The statement also said that there could be no military solution to the Syrian conflict and the only solution was the political process led and owned by Syrians.

“The presidents reaffirmed their determination to facilitate the launch of the Constitutional Committee as soon as possible,” it added.

Calling on the international community, particularly the UN, “to increase their assistance to Syria by providing additional humanitarian aid, restoring humanitarian infrastructure assets, including water and power supply facilities, schools and hospitals,” it emphasized that efforts to help Syrians restore normal and peaceful life should continue.

Leaders also decided to hold the next trilateral summit in Turkey upon the invitation of Erdogan.

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