Iran Favors Syria Talks Along With Anti-Terror Push

The Aleppo victory conveyed the message to militants that they cannot achieve their goal of regime change in Syria
Iran Favors Syria Talks Along With Anti-Terror Push Iran Favors Syria Talks Along With Anti-Terror Push

Iran's president said it's time to intensify political efforts for resolving the nearly six-year-old conflict in Syria, in parallel with a serious battle against terrorists, which has produced major achievements.

Hassan Rouhani made the statement in a Saturday phone conversation with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, IRNA reported.

It was the third phone call on Syria between the two leaders over the past month, besides frequent contacts between their diplomats. The conflict, which has pitted the Syrian Army against foreign-backed militants fighting to bring down the government, has become the worst calamity in the 21th century, leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands and a major refuge crisis.

Tehran has been providing Syrian troops with advisory services since the early months of the conflict, while Russia has lent air power in the counter-terror push since September 2015.

The army and its allies started a major operation in recent months to liberate eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo, the second biggest Syrian city and the most populous one before the conflict.

Earlier this month, Syrian forces managed to encircle militants, including members of Al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra front (recently rebranded to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham), in a small pocket of Aleppo.

The Syrian military announced on Thursday that it had attained full control of the northwestern city, after the last remaining militants were evacuated under a deal mediated by Russia and Turkey, which earlier supported opposing sides of the conflict in Syria.

Hundreds took to the streets of Aleppo late on Thursday to celebrate the complete cleanup of the city's east, which was the last major urban area controlled by militants.

  Message to Terrorists

The Iranian president said this victory in Aleppo conveyed the message to terrorists that they can't achieve their goal of regime change.

Rouhani stressed the need for freeing all Syrians trapped in areas besieged by militants, alluding to the towns of Foua and Kefraya, and delivering humanitarian aid to those in need across the war-ravaged Arab country.

"But we should be careful that terrorists don't exploit [humanitarian] ceasefires to regroup and turn some sensitive parts of Syria into their new bases," he said.

After reaching a deal on the evacuation of eastern Aleppo and implementing it, Russian and Turkish foreign ministers, Sergey Lavrov and Mevlut Cavusoglu respectively, along with their Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on Tuesday sat down for talks to discuss the Syria crisis in Moscow.

After the meeting, they issued a statement that called for nationwide ceasefire and cooperation against terrorist groups, and said the three are ready to act as guarantors of a possible peace deal between the Syrian government and opposition groups.


  Kazakhstan Talks

Putin announced on Friday that Russia, Iran, Turkey and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had all agreed that the Kazakh capital of Astana should be the venue for new Syrian peace negotiations.

Rouhani said Kazakhstan can be a good host for peace talks on Syria and hailed the initiative as a "step forward" toward ending the pains of the Syrian nation.

Putin said "close Tehran-Moscow cooperation has resulted in a major victory over international terrorism", reaffirming Rouhani's call for renewing the peace process.

"Consultations and coordination between Iran and Russia, which have been in line with a constructive international approach [toward terrorism], will be continued," he said.


very good

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