SOCHI, October 22. /TASS/. Moscow and Ankara have reaffirmed their commitment to the Astana process on Syrian regulation as both sides will continue to facilitate the launch of the Syrian Constitutional Committee, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Tuesday on the outcomes of the talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"The strong commitment to the Astana format and political regulation [is maintained], and with this aim, we will actively support the Syrian Constitutional Committee, which launches next week and which has been established due to the joint efforts of Russia, Turkey and Iran — the guarantors of the Astana process," Lavrov said.
The talks between Putin and Erdogan lasted for over six hours. During the talks, the leaders discussed Operation Peace Spring, launched by Turkey on October 9, aimed to establish a 30 km-long buffer zone in Syria’s north, where over 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey would resettle. Ankara’s incursion into Syria has triggered an outcry in the region and across the world.
On October 17, the US reached a deal with Turkey to pause Operation Peace Spring. Turkey consented to a 120-hour ceasefire so that Kurdish units making up the coalition of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) could leave the areas of the border security zone that Ankara is attempting to create.
Starting midday October 23, the Russian military police and Syrian border guards will arrive at the Syrian-Turkish border to monitor the withdrawal of Kurdish military formations to the depth of 30 km from the border. Russia and Turkey will begin the joint patrolling of the area 150 hours later.
The Syrian Constitutional Committee was formed in accordance with the resolution approved in January 2018 during the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi. It includes 150 members (50 each from Damascus, the Syrian opposition and civil societies). Every group must appoint 15 people to participate in closed-door sessions in Geneva. The first session of the committee should take place in Geneva on October 29-30.