Turkey, Russia, Iran leaders commit to Syrian peace process

Turkey, Russia and Iran on Wednesday expressed their commitment to bring stability and security to war-torn Syria through peaceful dialogue.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had spoken with his Russian and Iran counterparts, Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani, respectively, over establishing direct political dialogue between opposing sides in the nine-year-old conflict.

“We will continue to do all we can so that our neighbour Syria finds peace, security and stability soon,” Reuters quoted Erdoğan as saying during a televised video conference.

Moscow and Tehran are Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s main foreign backers in a drawn-out war with Turkish-backed opposition factions.

The three guarantor states are joint sponsors of the Astana peace talks, which began seeking a resolution for the Syrian conflict in 2017. Turkey and Russia signed a separate agreement in Sochi in 2018 to prevent a Syrian government assault on the rebel-held province of Idlib, where Turkey has troops stationed. But the escalation in Syria has crippled ongoing peace processes.

Wednesday’s talks under the Astana peace process are the first of their kind since September.

“An inclusive inter-Syrian dialogue should be actively promoted within the framework of the constitutional committee in Geneva. I propose to support this process, to help the participants to meet and start a direct dialogue,” Putin said.

In a joint statement following the conference, Russia, Turkey and Iran agreed that Syria’s war had no military solution and has to be settled only via a political process.

The three leaders welcomed a meeting of the Syrian Constitutional Committee expected to take place in August – a step forward in an effort to bring political stability in Syria – according to Reuters.

They also “highlighted the need to facilitate safe and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their original places of residence in Syria," state-run Anadolu news agency quoted the leaders as saying.

Erdoğan and his counterparts agreed to hold their next summit on Syria in Iran, but did not give a date, Reuters said.