Thursday 06 August 2020
News ID: 80171
Publish Date: 01 July 2020 - 22:17
Iran Urges Immediate End to U.S. Presence
TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- The illegitimate presence of U.S. forces in Syria should end immediately, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in a video conference broadcast on Iranian state TV on Wednesday.
Iran would continue its support for Syria’s legal government, Rouhani said.
Iran, Russia and Turkey, which support opposing sides in the war, held talks to harmonize efforts to bring peace to the country, whose conflict has entered its 10th year.
Rouhani said there was "no military solution” for Syria. Putin denounced newly imposed U.S. sanctions that he said were aimed at "suffocating” Syria, while Erdogan called for peace and security to be restored in his country’s southern neighbor.
The talks were the first since September in the so-called Astana format, three-way talks between the key foreign powers in the Syrian conflict.
Iran and Russia have been staunch supporters of President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey has called for the ouster of the Syrian government and backed militants seeking to topple him.
Rouhani told the conference that "the Islamic Republic believes the only solution to the Syrian crisis is political and not a military solution”.
"We continue to support the inter-Syrian dialogue and underline our determination to fight the terrorism of Daesh, Al-Qaeda and other related groups,” he said.
"I emphasize that the fight against terrorism will continue until it is completely eradicated

in Syria and the region in general.”
Putin raised similar concerns. He said the objective of the conference was to analyze the situation and agree on steps "to ensure the long-term normalization in Syria”.
"Above all, it is a question of continuing the fight against international terrorism,” he said.
"The most tense situation is still being observed in territories outside the control of the Syrian army, particularly in the de-escalation zone of Idlib and in northeastern Syria.
"We need to actively help advance an inclusive inter-Syrian dialogue,” said the Russian leader.
Idlib is held by Takfiri terrorists and other groups, some of them backed by Turkey, which has deployed forces in several military posts in the region as part of a 2018 deal with Russia.
Putin also denounced as "illegitimate” a new raft of U.S. sanctions against Syria. He stressed "the negative impact of the sanctions put in place against Syria, bypassing the UN Security Council”.
The Caesar Act, which took effect in mid-June, punishes under U.S. law any company that works with Syria. The measures have cast a cloud over efforts to rebuild the war-ravaged country.
"Despite the call from the UN Secretary-General for easing the pressure of sanctions under pandemic conditions, Washington like Brussels decided to prolong measures against Syria,” Putin told the conference.
"In addition, new sanctions presumably aimed at economically suffocating Syria have been adopted.”
Erdogan said Turkey’s "fundamental priorities are to safeguard Syria’s political unity and territorial integrity, restore peace on the ground and find a lasting political solution to the conflict”.
"We will continue to do what we can to restore peace and security to our neighbor Syria as soon as possible,” said the Turkish president.
After delivering their opening statements, the three presidents were to discuss Syria in private.
Putin said Iran, Russia and Turkey had drafted a joint statement "reflecting the harmonized approaches of the three countries towards further action”.
"Among other things, it set out the task of destroying terrorist groups once and for all and advancing the political process,” he said.
As well as Idlib, Turkey also controls a stretch of territory along its border in neighboring Aleppo province following a series of military offensives since 2016.

* Comment: