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Russia, Iran, Turkey welcome successful exchange of detainees in Syria — joint statement

The countries also agreed to continue their cooperation to ultimately eliminate the terrorist groups acting in various parts of Syria

NUR-SULTAN, July 8. /TASS/. Moscow, Tehran, and Ankara welcomed the successful exchange of five Syrian servicemen for five Syrian militants that took place on July 2, says the joint statement of Russia, Iran, and Turkey, adopted after the 16th Astana Format meeting on Syria. 

"[The sides] Welcomed the successful operation on the mutual release of detainees on July 2 within the framework of the Working Group on the Release of Detainees / Abductees, Handover of Bodies and Identification of Missing Persons," the statement reads.

The sides noted that "the operation confirmed the willingness of Syrian parties to strengthen the mutual trust with the assistance of the Astana guarantors. It also reaffirmed the determination of the Astana guarantors to increase and expand their cooperation within the Working Group."

The exchange took place near the settlement of Al-Bab, Aleppo Province, within the fifth project of the Working Group, operating within the Astana Format with assistance from Turkey, Russia, Iran, and the UN.

Countries condemn increasing terrorist activity in Syria

Russia, Turkey, and Iran agreed to continue working together to combat terrorism and condemned the increasing terrorist activities in various parts of Syria, according to a joint statement by the representatives of the three guarantor countries released after the 16th international meeting on Syria in Astana format on Thursday.

"Expressed their determination to continue working together to combat terrorism in all forms and manifestations and stand against separatist agendas aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria as well as threatening the national security of neighboring countries," the document reads.

"Condemned the increasing terrorist activities in various parts of Syria which result in loss of innocent lives including the attacks targeting civilian facilities," the representatives of the three countries said in their joint statement.

Russia, Iran, and Turkey also agreed to continue their cooperation to ultimately eliminate the terrorist groups Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra/ Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (all of them outlawed in Russia) and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al-Qaeda (outlawed in Russia) or the IS, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the UN Security Council, while "ensuring the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure in accordance with international humanitarian law."

"Expressed serious concern with the increased presence and terrorist activity of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other affiliated terrorist groups as designated by the UN Security Council that pose a threat to civilians inside and outside the Idlib de-escalation area," the document says.

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