In a joint declaration yesterday after a tripartite summit in Ankara, the Turkish, Russian and Iranian presidents stressed their joint resolve to oppose separatism as well as the use of terrorism as an excuse for changing Syria.
The statement, following a nearly two-hour closed-door meeting among Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, said the leaders "reject all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combating terrorism."
The leaders "expressed their conviction that there could be no military solution to the Syrian conflict and that the conflict could be ended only through a negotiated political process."
They voiced their commitment "to follow up on the results of the Congress, reflecting the will of representatives of all segments of the Syrian society, in particular the agreement to form a Constitutional Committee, supported by the U.N. secretary-general and the international community."
They reiterated "the necessity to assist the Syrians in restoring the unity of their country and in achieving a political solution of the ongoing conflict through an inclusive, free, fair and transparent Syrian-led and Syrian-owned process based on the freewill of the Syrian people and leading to a constitution enjoying the support of the Syrian people, and free and fair elections with the participation of all eligible Syrians under appropriate U.N. supervision"
The presidents also underscored their joint determination to "speed up their efforts to ensure calm on the ground and protect civilians in the de-escalation areas as well as to facilitate rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to these areas."
They stressed that the creation of de-escalation areas was temporary as provided for under a May 2017 memorandum.
"They called upon the international community, particularly the U.N. and its humanitarian agencies, to increase its assistance to Syria by sending additional humanitarian aid, facilitating humanitarian mine action, restoring basic infrastructure assets, including social and economic facilities, and preserving historical heritage," the statement said. One of the decisions made at the summit was to hold the next one in Iran, at Rouhani's invitation.