Conversation: Turkish Erdogan calls Iranian Rouhani, reaffirms support to political solution to Syria crisis

Russian,Turkish representatives confirm their goal to reduce tension in Syria’s Idlib

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday in a phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that a political solution remains the only possible way to end the Syria crisis.

"Erdogan named political dialogue as the only solution to Syrian problems," the Iranian presidential press office said.

According to the press office, the Turkish president pointed out that "the talks [within the Astana format] have yielded meaningful results and they should be continued for the sake of a stable peace [in Syria]."

Turkish leader said the current situation in Idlib cannot remain unchanged.

The Iranian president, in turn, pointed to the country's readiness to act as a host for the next round of trilateral talks within the Astana process.

We must resolve issues through dialogue, and must not allow the Astana process to be undermined, Rouhani said.

Moscow, Tehran and Ankara are the guarantors of the Astana process to normalize the situation in Syria.

Turkish Deputy FM Mikhail Bogdanov said that a trilateral summit on the Syrian settlement of the Russian, Iranian and Turkish presidents could be held in Tehran in early March.

The escalating and tense situations in Syria war have raises concerns in many quarters as Turkey which is providing full backing for the rebels in the Idlib province of Syria has resumed offensives against the Russian backed Damascus forces. 

Casualties  have been recorded on both side. The tensions in Syria’s Idlib region escalated on Thursday after militants launched a large-scale offensive, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

 In the early hours of Friday, the Syrian government forces conducted strikes on their positions, which, as Ankara claims, killed 33 Turkish soldiers. In response, Turkey’s Air Force conducted strikes on the Syrian troops, later specifying that more than 200 targets had been hit.

The Russian Defense Ministry told reporters that the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham terrorist group (one of the names of Jabhat al-Nusra, banned in Russia) unleashed a large-scale offensive on Idlib on Thursday. The killed Turkish soldiers were among the advancing terrorists, the Russian Defense Ministry stated adding that the Aerospace Forces were not used in that area.

The recent flare-up was in focus of a phone talk between the presidents of Russia and Turkey, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They emphasized the urgency to de-escalate the tensions and agreed to work out the possibility of a summit meeting in the near future.

Russian,Turkish representatives confirm their goal to reduce tension in Syria’s Idlib

Also on Saturday, Russian and  Turkish representatives confirm their goal to reduce tension in Syria’s Idlib while continuing to fight terrorists, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday. TASS reported.

The Russian delegation included Russia’s Special Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin and representatives of the Defense Ministry. 

The Turkish delegation was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal, the statement says.

"The sides continued discussing specific steps for achieving durable stabilization of the situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone based on the full implementation of the memorandum dated May 4, 2017 and the memorandum dated September 17, 2018," the Russian Foreign Ministry informed.

"Both sides confirmed their goal to reduce the tension ‘on the ground’ while continuing the war on terrorists recognized as such by the UN Security Council and also to protect civilians inside and outside the de-escalation zone and render emergency humanitarian assistance to all those who need it," the statement reads.

Russian and Turkish Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the Idlib situation over the phone on Friday. They stressed the need to take additional measures to normalize the situation in the Idlib province and agreed to consider holding a summit soon.

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