Sep 16, 2019, 11:56 PM
Journalist ID: 2078
News Code: 83478402
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Iran, Turkey, Russia firm on combating terrorists in Syria's last militant stronghold Idlib

Tehran, Sept 16, IRNA - Leaders of Iran, Turkey and Russia pledged on Monday to continue efforts to combat terrorist groups in the Syrian city of Idlib in a bid to expand Damascus government’s control over larger parts of the country. 

“Iranian, Turkish and Russian leaders expressed the serious concern over an increase in the presence of terrorist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in the northwestern city of Idlib. They also reiterated their determination to continue cooperation for the final destruction of Daesh (ISIS), Al-Nusra Front and all other persons, groups, and other Al-Qaeda or ISIS-affiliated entities that have been identified by the United Nations,” reads point 6 of the final communique of the fifth meeting between presidents of Iran, Turkey and Russia in Ankara on Monday night.

Idlib province, where a ceasefire is now in effect, is Syria's last militant-held stronghold.

A four-month offensive in Idlib has caused a massive outflow of refugees to Turkey.

The 14-point joint statement also reiterates that the Syrian crisis needs to be concluded through peaceful political solutions based on inter-Syrian dialogue and talks according to the UN Security Council’s 2254 Resolution. They rejected any foreign military solution to the crisis. 

The document slammed the Israeli “destabalizing” attacks that “violate Syria’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity, leading to an increase in regional tensions."

Israel has launched several attacks on Syria, Lebanon and Iraq recently, leaving many dead and injured. 

The three regional leaders also reiterated their support for the UNSC’s Resolution 497 that rejects Israeli takeover of the Syrian Golan Heights. 

They also rejected US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the occupied area, warning it could “endanger peace and security in the region”. 

The US recognized the Golan Heights as part of Israel through a presidential proclamation signed by President Donald Trump on March 25, 2019. 

The directive made the US the first country to recognize Israeli rather than Syrian sovereignty over the Golan Heights region.

The three leaders also reiterated their will to continue efforts to stand against plots to further destablize Syria and violate its national sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

Iranian, Turkish and Russian president also stressed the need to fully complete the process of creating the Constitution Committee in line with the UN efforts. 

They also supported efforts to allow unconditional humanitarian assistance to those trapped in areas where war keeps raging. 

According to the statement, displaced Syrians need to be able to safely return to their homeland in a bid to kickstart reconstruction period. 

Also, Rouhani, Erdogan and Putin agreed that Iraq and Lebanon observe the Astana peace process implementation. 

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