A trilateral summit between Iran, Russia and Turkey has called on conflicting parties in Syria to adhere to a political solution in order to settle their differences.
On Wednesday, a joint statement that was issued at the end of video conference attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said, “The Syrian war has no military solution and must be settled only through a political process”.
They also agreed to hold the next trilateral summit on Syria in Iran but provided no date, according to the Iranian state TV.
In the meeting, Rouhani denounced the US new sanctions against Syria which is battling the coronavirus pandemic as “inhumane”.
President Rouhani said, “In line with the previous sanctions and its desperate efforts to put pressure on the Syrian people, the United States has imposed new unilateral and inhumane sanctions, known as the Caesar Act with the aim of achieving its illegitimate political aspirations”.
The Caesar Act, which took effect in mid-June, punishes any country, individual or entity that does business with the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“The US must be assured that what it has not achieved through military pressure and resorting to terrorist groups cannot be attained through the tools of economic pressure and punishment of the Syrian people,” Rouhani noted.
Putin also denounced the new US “illegitimate” sanctions on Syria, saying they were aimed at “suffocating” Damascus.
For his part, Erdogan called for restoration of peace and security along the southern borders of Turkey as well as in Syria.
Turkey’s priority for Syria is a lasting solution to the conflict, said Erdogan.
In March, Erdogan and Putin held a summit with the leaders of Russia, France and Germany to discuss the situation in Syria’s last rebel enclave of Idlib.
Earlier, the Syrian regime and Iranian-backed groups also launched a ground offensive in Aleppo province, a designated de-escalation zone, forcing at least 13,000 more civilians to move toward Turkey’s border.
The war in Libya, where Turkey is sending troops in support of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord, and the conflict in Syria, where Ankara and Moscow are both militarily involved, are also set to dominate the summit as well.
Turkey launched a cross-border assault on Kurdish fighters after the US decided to withdraw troops from Syria, a move that was criticised by the Republicans, with some terming it a “betrayal” of the Kurds.
In January, US government announced that it imposed sanctions on the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and it’s head while renewing waivers allowing foreign companies to continue work at Iranian nuclear sites.
Last year, the US imposed fresh sanctions on Iran, including an airline and the country’s shipping industry.
Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads since May last year when President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal and began reimposing crippling sanctions.
The three-way talks were held in line with the Astana peace process which was launched in January 2017, in an effort to bring all warring parties in Syria to the negotiating table as a complement to the UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva.
(With inputs from agency)