Putin, Rouhani and Erdogan Meet in Tehran

Putin, Rouhani and Erdogan Meet in Tehran

Putin, Rouhani and Erdogan Meet in Tehran

The attacks come amid repeated warnings from the USA against an all-out assault by Syria's Russian-backed forces to retake Idlib, the last major area held by the armed opposition in Syria.

De Mistura's call on the negotiators - in particular the main power broker, Russian Federation - to protect civilians was echoed by eight European countries in a joint statement on September 6. The "political process" must be allowed to proceed.

According to the plan, 12 armed groups - including Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Idlib - would lay down their arms and be evacuated from the province, the newspaper said, without revealing its sources.

Turkey also doesn't want to see another Kurdish-controlled area rise along its border, as it already faces in northern Iraq. "We should provide a ceasefire here, taking measures against terrorist organisations together with the joint work of our relevant officials", Erdogan said.

"We must put more effort into developing, strengthening, and reinforcing our relations in all fields", Erdogan noted, stressing the need for increased banking cooperation and use of national currencies in bilateral trade. It would bring peace to the civilians.

"I believe the Turkish president is right overall. Any fight against terrorists requires methods based on time and patience".

Meanwhile, President Erdoğan appealed for a "reasonable way out" that avoids a bloodbath in Syria's Idlib. "Assad's brutal regime - backed by Russian Federation and Iran - can not continue to attack and terrorize Syria's citizens".

Putin's opposition to Erdogan was reflected by Iranian President Rouhani, who underlined that the government forces must regain control over entire Syrian territory.

He warned militants in Idlib planned "provocations", possibly including chemical weapons. Russian Federation has suggested the rebels could use chemical weapons in a final battle for the rebel stronghold.

US President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the Iran nuclear deal in May, and re-imposed the first batch of anti-Iran sanctions later in August.

The 2,200 or so troops now stationed in Syria will stay, even though their stated primary goal of ousting ISIS "has almost been completed", notes The Washington Post. Although the USA has about 2,000 troops and outposts in Syria, President Donald Trump has said he wants to pull those forces out after the war against the Islamic State group dislodged the extremists from vast territories it once held there and in Iraq.

TRT World's Melinda Nucifora reports from Tehran.

Each of the three nations has its own interests in the years-long war in Syria.

Iran wants to keep its foothold in the Mediterranean nation neighbouring Israel and Lebanon.

James Jeffrey, who was named "representative for Syria engagement" by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said American troops will now be tasked with ensuring the exit of all Iranian military personnel and helping to build (as the Post puts it) "a stable, nonthreatnening government acceptable to all Syrians and the global community". Russian Federation also wants to maintain its regional presence to fill the vacuum left by the US and its long uncertainty over what it wants in the conflict.

Northwestern Idlib province and surrounding areas are home to about 3 million people - almost half of them civilians displaced from other parts of Syria. That also includes an estimated 10,000 hard-core fighters, including Al-Qaeda-linked militants.

The Syrian army is now preparing for an offensive against Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold controlled by groups involving radical Islamists recognized as terrorist groups by the global community.

For Turkey, the stakes couldn't be higher. Turkey has accepted 3.5 million refugees from Syria since the start of the war in 2011. Naji al-Mustafa, a spokesman for the Turkey-backed National Front for Liberation, said before the summit that his forces were prepared for a battle that they expect will spark a major humanitarian crisis. But he was said to have given the military a six-month timeline to do so.

Early Friday, a series of airstrikes hit villages in southwest Idlib, targeting insurgent posts and killing five people, including a civilian, said Rami Abdurrahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Russian warplanes then carried out a second wave of strikes on the same target, preventing rescue workers from extracting victims from the rubble, he said.

Related news