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De-escalation zones in Syria pave way for end of war — Putin

During Putin's meeting with Turkish President Erdogan, both sides confirmed their readiness to keep working on the de-escalation zones

ANKARA, September 28. /TASS/. The creation of de-escalation zones in Syria has paved the way for ending the civil war in this country, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday evening.

"Necessary conditions have de-facto been created for ending the fratricidal war, for total elimination of terrorists and the return of Syrians to peaceful life, to their homes," Putin said.

He said that during the meeting with Erdogan, both sides confirmed their readiness to keep working on the de-escalation zones.

"The determination was confirmed to follow the final agreements on establishing four de-escalation zones, the largest of them in the Idlib province, reached during the sixth international meeting on Syria in Astana in mid-September," the Russian leader said, adding that the de-escalation initiative was first voiced during his meeting with Erdogan in Sochi in May.

"We have to admit that the work to put this idea into practice was very difficult both for the conflict parties and for states guarantors of the Astana [reconciliation] process - Russia, Turkey, Iran," Putin said.

"Despite all difficulties, we still managed to achieve a positive result," he went on. "I view those agreements as our common and particularly important achievement, an achievement in which our friend Mr. Erdogan has played an important role, because he was one of those who initiated this process."

According to Putin, the agreements on de-escalation zones played an important role "not only for the Syrian people, not only for the region, but for the entire world as well."

"We create conditions for the return of refugees to their homes, which is of utmost importance for stepping up the process of searching for a long-term political settlement in Geneva under the aegis of the UN," he said.