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US Gen Dunford says not scheduled to speak with Russia’s Gen Gerasimov over Syria

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said "he is ‘disappointed, but not surprised’ by the failure of the Idlib talks."

WASHINGTON, September 8. /TASS/. Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that he had not spoken with General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces, "since the crisis over Idlib began" and no more contacts had been scheduled, the US Department of Defense said on Saturday.

"The chairman said he has not spoken with Gen. Valery Gerasimov, his Russian counterpart, since the crisis over Idlib began, and that he is not scheduled to speak with him," the article said.

Dunford said "he is ‘disappointed, but not surprised’ by the failure of the Idlib talks," it says.

Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Hassan Rouhani of Iran and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey met in the Iranian capital city Tehran on September 7 to discuss measures to ensure lasting normalization in Syria, including a range additional steps to eliminate the nest of international terrorism in the Idlib governorate, to promote political settlement and resolution of humanitarian problems, in particular to create conditions for the return of refugees and internally displaced persons.

Idlib is the only large region in Syria that is still controlled by illegal armed groups. In 2017, a northern de-escalation zone was established in Idlib to give shelter to militants and their families who are reluctant to voluntarily surrender arms.

The presidents of the three nations said in a declaration passed after their summit meeting in Tehran that Russia, Iran and Turkey would continue joining efforts until all terrorists were eradicated in Syria and the situation stabilized there. Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the news conference after the summit that ousting terrorists from Idlib is "the main task at this stage.".