Sides agree to Syr­ian peace push

Putin and Er­do­gan in turn­around to reach new de-es­ca­la­tion deal

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

ANKARA — Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin said on Thurs­day that the de-facto con­di­tions needed to end Syria’s civil war have been achieved.

Putin’s com­ments, which fol­lowed talks with Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Tayyip Er­do­gan in Ankara, come as Rus­sia, Turkey and Iran co­op­er­ate on main­tain­ing de-es­ca­la­tion zones in Syria.

Er­do­gan said they fo­cused on the specifics of se­cur­ing a de-es­ca­la­tion zone in Syria’s north­ern prov­ince of Idlib on the border with Turkey, em­pha­siz­ing the shared po­lit­i­cal will to con­trib­ute to the Syr­ian po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment.

Putin, for his part, hailed “our friend, Pres­i­dent Er­do­gan” for help­ing make the de-es­ca­la­tion deal pos­si­ble, adding that it would al­low fight­ing to halt and cre­ate con­di­tions for the re­turn of refugees to their homes.

“I con­sider th­ese agree­ments our com­mon, ex­tremely im­por­tant suc­cess,” Putin said. “The nec­es­sary con­di­tions have been cre­ated for putting an end to the frat­ri­ci­dal war in Syria, com­pletely de­stroy­ing ter­ror­ists and al­low­ing Syr­i­ans to re­turn to peace­ful life.”

Putin’s visit came as Turkey and Rus­sia are work­ing to deepen ties in a turn­around for the two na­tions, which have backed op­pos­ing sides in Syria and nearly came to blows over Turkey’s down­ing of a Rus­sian plane in 2015.

Putin and Er­do­gan also talked about the Iraqi Kur­dish ref­er­en­dum held on Mon­day, with the Turk­ish pres­i­dent de­nounc­ing it as a “big mis­take” that eroded sta­bil­ity in the re­gion.

Er­do­gan un­der­lined the need to pre­vent “even more se­ri­ous mis­takes”, adding that “it’s im­por­tant that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity sides with Iraq’s ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity and po­lit­i­cal unity”.

Turkey, which is bat­tling a more than three-decades-old Kur­dish in­sur­gency, op­posed the plebiscite, in which Iraqi Kurds voted over­whelm­ingly for in­de­pen­dence. Turkey has said it is con­sid­er­ing eco­nomic sanc­tions against the semi-au­ton­o­mous Kur­dish re­gion in Iraq and has not ruled out mil­i­tary ac­tion.

Rus­sia has main­tained a neu­tral tone re­gard­ing the Kur­dish ref­er­en­dum, but it un­der­lined its sup­port for Iraq’s sovereignty and ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity while em­pha­siz­ing the need to avoid desta­bi­liza­tion of the re­gion.

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