Russia, Turkey, Iran fail to agree on ceasefire for Syria's Idlib

Russia, Turkey, Iran fail to agree on ceasefire for Syria's Idlib

Turkey wants to separate the terrorists from the other opposition groups in Idlib, but Russian Federation believes there is no distinction as both are deemed terrorists.

Their discussions in Tehran mark a crucial point in a seven-year-old war which has killed more than half a million people and forced 11 million to flee their homes.

"I think the last chapter of the Idlib story has not been written".

He recounted that the talks between the guarantor states will continue at the level of experts and representatives from the three countries, the representatives of the opposition parties and groups and the representatives from the UN. "It would be good", he said.

In a series of tweets following the summit, Erdogan said resorting to methods that would disregard civilian lives would "play into the hands of terrorists".

Naji al-Mustafa, a spokesman for the Turkey-backed National Front for Liberation, said Friday his fighters were prepared for a battle that they expect will spark a major humanitarian crisis.

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"The Americans have faced a real defeat in Syria and have not reached their goals", he added. His stance against some of the groups who fight in Idlib started with his description of Al-Nusra Front fighters as terrorists who must be defeated, which shows that an worldwide green light has been given to liquidate them and that they will be excluded from any settlement. But there were other armed opposition groups that could join any ceasefire agreement, they said.

The joint statement said the leaders highlighted the "need to create conditions for the safe and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their original places of residence in Syria".

The communique also called on the United Nations and the worldwide community to step up humanitarian aid to Syria and help in restoring basic infrastructure assets.

Mr Putin added that it is "unacceptable" to use civilians as a pretext to shield "terrorists" in Idlib.

Erdogan said Turkey no longer had the capacity to take in any more refugees from Syria should the government offensive in Idlib go ahead.

The situation in the northern governorate of Idlib, which accommodates about 4 million people, is complicated as a number of factors make its fate very hard to predict. Idlib borders Turkey and is now a buffer zone between the Syrian Army and their allies on one side and the Turkish forces on the other.

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"Whatever reason there is an attack that has been made or will be made will result in disaster, massacre and humanitarian drama", he said.

Iran, Turkey and Russian Federation "emphasized strong and continued the commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, as well as to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and highlighted that they should be respected by all". "Turkey has filled its capacity to host refugees".

Turkey's head Recep Tayyip Erdogan departed from Ankara's Esenboga Airport earlier on Friday to attend the trilateral meeting on Syria, between himself, and the Presidents of Russian Federation and Iran, Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani respectively, which will be held in the Iranian capital Tehran. But the United States and other Western governments involved in the conflict will not be attending the summit. Although the West has long said he must stand down or be removed, that looks unlikely at this point.

While President Donald Trump had signalled that he wanted US forces out of Syria, in April he agreed to keep troops there a little longer.

Meanwhile, the fate of Idlib hung in the balance. Some sources say the USA will pre-emptively strike the Syrian Army in Idlib because they are afraid that, once this battle starts, it is inevitable that the regime will be victorious.

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