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Russia, Iran, Turkey to take measures to protect civilians in Syria’s Idlib — statement

Russia, Turkey, Iran are ready to support the Constitutional Committee’s activity, according to the statement

NUR-SULTAN, December 11. /TASS/. Russia, Iran and Turkey will take measures to protect civilians in the Syrian province of Idlib, the three guarantor countries of the Astana process said in a joint statement following the 14th round of international talks on Syria held in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana.

According to the statement, the three countries "reviewed in detail the situation in the Idlib de-escalation area and highlighted the necessity to establish calm on the ground by fully implementing all agreements on Idlib, first and foremost the Memorandum of 17 September 2018." They also "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 threat to civilians inside and outside the de-escalation area."

Russia, Iran and Turkey "reaffirmed in this regard the determination to continue cooperation in order to ultimately eliminate DAESH/ISIL, Al-Nusra Front and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaeda or DAESH/ISIL, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the UN Security Council."

"While deploring civilian casualties, they agreed to undertake concrete measures, based on the previous agreements, to ensure the protection of the civilian population in accordance with the international humanitarian law as well as the safety and security of the military personnel of the guarantors present within and outside the Idlib de-escalation area," the statement specified.

Support for Constitutional Committee’s activity 

The guarantors of the Astana format pledged to support the activity of the Syrian Constitutional Committee.

The parties "emphasized in this regard the importance of the formation and convening of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva on 30 October 2019 as a result of the decisive contribution of the Astana guarantors and the implementation of the decisions of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi," the statement runs.

They "expressed the readiness to support the work of the committee through continuous interaction with its members and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen, as facilitator, in order to ensure its sustainable and effective work," the statement went on to say.

The guarantors also "expressed the conviction that the committee in its work should be governed by a sense of compromise and constructive engagement without foreign interference and externally imposed timelines aimed at reaching general agreement of its members," the statement said.

Increasing humanitarian assistance to Syria

The guarantors of the Astana process call for increasing humanitarian assistance to Syria. According to the joint statement, the three countries "emphasized the need to increase humanitarian assistance to all Syrians throughout the country without discrimination, politicization and preconditions."

"In order to support the improvement of the humanitarian situation in Syria and the progress in the process of the political settlement, called upon the international community, the United Nations and its humanitarian agencies, to enhance the assistance to Syria, inter alia by developing early recovery projects, including the restoration of basic infrastructure assets — water and power supply facilities, schools and hospitals as well as the humanitarian mine action in accordance with the international humanitarian law," the document reads.