Turkey, Russia, Iran will meet in Tehran to discuss Syria’s Idlib: Turkish official

Turkey, Russia, and Iran will meet in Tehran next month to discuss Syria’s Idlib and a Russian delegation may come to Ankara before that, according to a Turkish official speaking on condition of anonymity.

Ahead of the Tehran meeting, Russian delegations may visit Ankara for further talks, a Turkey official said.

Turkey and Russia are discussing possible joint patrols around Syria’s Idlib as one option to ensure security of the region, the official said. Unnamed Turkish official told Reuters on Thursday.

The official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity, said Iran, Turkey and Russia plan to meet in Tehran early next month to further discuss Syria, including Idlib.

According to the Press TV reports: "The parties are working to agree on the date for the summit. As soon as an agreement between the three countries is reached, the date of the summit will be announced to the public," Russia’s TASS news agency cited a source in Turkey’s Foreign Ministry as saying on Thursday.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov earlier told TASS that a trilateral Russian-Iranian-Turkish summit could be held in Tehran in early March, if the Turkish leadership agreed.

The previous trilateral meeting, the fifth in a row, between the presidents of the countries acting as guarantors of the Astana process to promote a peaceful settlement in Syria took place in Ankara in September 2019.

The trio also maintains contacts as part of the high-level meetings on Syria in Nur-Sultan. The last such meeting was held on December 10-11, 2019.

The development comes as Syria is conducting a major operation to liberate the northwestern province of Idlib, the last terrorist-held bastion.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had said earlier on Thursday that there was some rapprochement with Russia in talks about Syria’s Idlib region, where Ankara has threatened to mount an offensive, but added that discussions were not at a desired level yet.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that a Turkish military operation in Idlib to drive back a Russian-led Syrian regime offensive that has displaced nearly a million people was a “matter of time” after talks with Moscow failed to reach a solution.

Speaking to broadcaster TRT Haber, Cavusoglu said Turkey and Russia would intensify their talks on Idlib in the coming days, adding that Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin may discuss the issue as well.

Meanwhile, The Damascus troops of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has been making steady advances in its northwest in the past few weeks, liberating a strategic city and a key highway which connects Damascus to Aleppo, among other gains.

Syria began the offensive in December to drive out the terrorists from Idlib and neighboring areas after its troops and those of Russia came under increasing attacks.

The Syrian gains, however, have coincided with Turkey's massive deployment of troops and military equipment to Syria.

Turkey has 12 observation posts in Idlib, set up as part of an Iran-brokered agreement with Russia to de-escalate the situation near the Turkish border. Some of the posts, however, now lie in the territory that has been recaptured in joint Russo-Syrian efforts.

Ankara, which itself supports a number of anti-Damascus militant outfits in Idlib, claims that Syrian offensives there have killed 13 of its troops this month. It has threatened to attack the Syrian military unless government forces abandoned the liberated areas, and asked Moscow to “stop” Damascus.

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