The Times-Tribune

Russia, Iran, Turkey take on Syria deal-making role

Nations say their cooperatio­n could broker compromise.

- BY VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV AND ZEINA KARAM

MOSCOW — Russia, Turkey and Iran cast themselves as the essential deal-makers in Syria on Tuesday, saying at a trilateral meeting in Moscow that their cooperatio­n could pave the way for a future settlement in Syria.

The meeting of foreign and defense ministers of the three nations that previously backed the opposing sides in the nearly six-year conflict reflected a shared interest in brokering a compromise. The talks come a day after the killing of the Russian ambassador in Turkey, but Moscow and Ankara vowed that the attack wouldn’t hurt their rapprochem­ent.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after the talks that the three nations believe their efforts could overcome the “stagnation” in the Syrian peace process.

“The format you see today is the most efficient one,” Mr. Lavrov said. “It’s not an attempt to cast a shadow on the efforts taken by our other partners, it’s just stating the facts.”

He cited the evacuation of civilians and rebels from Aleppo, brokered by Moscow and Ankara, as proof of the efficiency of the trilateral cooperatio­n. “More than any others, our states are ready to help the settlement with real deeds and not just words,” he said.

Mr. Lavrov added that it would take one or two days to complete the evacuation­s.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said 37,500 people had been evacuated from Aleppo, crediting Russia with making it possible.

Mr. Cavusoglu said they talked about establishi­ng a cease-fire across the entire territory of Syria, adding that the Islamic State group and al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, the Fatah al-Sham Front, would be excluded from the deal.

 ?? ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Syrians evacuated from the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo during the cease-fire arrive at a refugee camp in Rashidin, near Idlib, Syria, early Monday.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Syrians evacuated from the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo during the cease-fire arrive at a refugee camp in Rashidin, near Idlib, Syria, early Monday.

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