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Syria welcomes results of Tehran summit, Sochi talks — UN envoy

"The Syrian government welcomes any initiative, aimed at restoring stability at the territories that suffered from terrorist activities," Bashar Ja’afari added
Syria’s UN envoy Bashar Ja’afari  EPA-EFE/FABRICE COFFRINI/POOL
Syria’s UN envoy Bashar Ja’afari
© EPA-EFE/FABRICE COFFRINI/POOL

UN, September 18. /TASS/. The Syrian government appreciates the Russian and Iranian leadership’s efforts at the summit in Tehran and welcomes the agreement on Idlib, reached at the recent Russian-Turkish talks in Sochi, Syria’s UN envoy said on Tuesday.

"Syria appreciates the efforts, made by the Russian and Iranian presidents during their recent summit in Tehran," Bashar Ja’afari told a UN Security Council session devoted to situation in the Middle East.

"The Syrian government welcomes the agreement on the Idlib province, announced yesterday in Sochi. We stress that this agreement is a result of intense consultations between the Syrian Arab Republic and the Russian Federation with full coordination between the two states," the diplomat continued.

"The Syrian government welcomes any initiative, aimed at restoring stability at the territories that suffered from terrorist activities," Ja’afari added. "We will continue our struggle against terrorism until the entire Syrian territory is liberated, either with the help of military force or with a ceasefire agreement."

Agreements on Idlib

On September 7, the Iranian capital of Tehran hosted the third summit between the leaders of Iran, Russian and Turkey, who discussed measures for resolving the Syria issue, paying particular attention to the situation in Idlib. Hassan Rouhani, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in the summit’s final declaration that the three countries were determined to continue cooperation until terrorism was completely eliminated and the situation in Syria stabilized. The Russian president stressed at the final press conference that driving militants out of Idlib was "a priority task at the moment."

On Monday, after three-hour negotiations with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan Russian President Vladimir Putin reported that Russia and Turkey agreed to create by October 15 a demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib Governorate along the contact line between the Syrian government forces and the armed opposition. According to Ankara’s proposal, the armed opposition’s tanks, multiple launch rocket systems and other heavy weaponry are to be fully withdrawn from the area by October 10. The demilitarized zone will be controlled by mobile patrol groups of the Turkish military and Russia’s military police.

Idlib is the only Syrian province still controlled by illegal armed groups. In 2017, a de-escalation zone was established in the region, where militants reluctant to lay down their arms can move together with their families. According to United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, Idlib currently hosts about 10,000 militants from the Jabhat al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda terror groups (both outlawed in Russia).

In case Damascus succeeds in restoring control over Idlib, it will bring large-scale military activities in Syria to an end.