Iran, Russia, Turkey urge political solution to Syrian crisis

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.

“The Syrian war has no military solution and must be settled only through a political process,” read a joint statement issued at the end of video conference on Wednesday attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

They also agreed to hold the next trilateral summit on Syria in Iran but provided no date, according to the Iranian state TV.

During the meeting, Rouhani denounced the US new sanctions against Syria which is battling the coronavirus pandemic as “inhumane”.

“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,” Rouhani said.

“The US move amounts to economic terrorism that violates international law, human rights, international humanitarian law and the sovereignty of nations.”

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.

He described the Astana process that underlines inter-Syrian dialogue as the only viable means to help resolve the Syrian crisis peacefully.

Putin also denounced the new US “illegitimate” sanctions on Syria, saying they were aimed at “suffocating” Damascus.

Highlighting “an inclusive inter-Syrian dialogue”, he said the Astana peace framework should deal with the issue of terrorism which remains in Syria’s Idlib and other regions.

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.

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.