Leaders fail to agree on Idlib truce

Putin, Rouhani, Erdoğan agree to eliminate IS, Nusra and other terrorist groups in Syria
The Presidents of Turkey, Iran and Russia on Friday failed to agree on a ceasefire that would forestall a Syrian government offensive in rebel-held Idlib province which the UN fears could cause a humanitarian catastrophe involving tens of thousands of civilians.
Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani, meeting in Tehran for a summit of key foreign players in Syria’s war, agreed in a final statement that there could be no military solution to the conflict and it could only end through a negotiated political process.
But as Syrian government and Russian warplanes mounted air strikes in Idlib on Friday morning in a possible prelude to a full-scale offensive, Mr. Putin and Mr. Rouhani pushed back against Mr. Erdoğan’s call for a truce. The Turkish leader said he feared a massacre and Turkey could not accommodate any more refugees flooding over its border. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a meeting with Mr. Putin on Friday that Iran and Russia can work together to restrain America and that Syria is a good example of how the U.S. can be restrained, according his official website.
In the final statement, the three agreed on the need to eliminate Islamic State, the Nusra Front, and other groups linked to al-Qaeda and designated as terrorists. But there were were other armed opposition groups who could join any ceasefire agreement, they said. The communiqué also called on the United Nations and the international community to step up humanitarian aid to Syria and help in restoring basic infrastructure assets.
The Assad government was not directly represented at the summit, nor were the United States and other Western powers. Mr. Rouhani said the United States should end its presence in Syria, while Mr. Erdoğan said Turkey was “extremely annoyed” by Washington’s support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, whom Ankara considers as terrorists linked to Kurdish separatists in Turkey.
Source :  https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-international/idlibs-fate-in-balance-as-leaders-meet/article24897792.ece

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