Iranian president arrives in Ankara for Syria summit

By Nazli Yuzbasioglu

ANKARA (AA) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Ankara on Sunday to attend a trilateral summit on Syria with the Turkish and Russian presidents.

The summit in the Turkish capital will deal with developments in Idlib, refugees and a political solution to the lingering conflict in Syria.

“It is aimed to evaluate the developments in Syria, especially in Idlib, to end the conflict environment, to provide the necessary conditions for the voluntary repatriation of refugees and to consult the joint steps to be taken in the future in order to establish a permanent political solution,” the Turkish presidency had said in an earlier statement.

The summit on Monday is a follow-up of the landmark Astana talks on Syria.

The Astana peace process aimed at ending the Syrian conflict was launched in January 2017 by Russia, Iran and Turkey. So far 13 rounds of talks have been conducted in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Turkey and Russia agreed last September to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone where acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

The Syrian regime and its allies, however, have consistently broken the terms of the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the de-escalation zone.

The zone is currently inhabited by about 4 million civilians, including hundreds of thousands of people displaced in recent years by regime forces from cities and towns throughout the war-weary country.