The leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran are holding a summit meeting in Tehran today September 7th to discuss Syria’s Idlib governorate, as the Syrian army prepares a large-scale military offensive on the country’s last rebel-held bastion amid international fears of a humanitarian catastrophe.
According to “Daily Hurriyet”, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani will meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Vladimir Putin in a third summit within the Astana process, which they claim seeks to end the seven-year civil war.
The three presidents are also expected to hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of the summit as the countries’ foreign ministers will come together separately.
Idlib is the main topic for the summit as the Syrian regime plans to reclaim territory that is home to 3.5 million people and thousands of terrorists linked to al-Qaeda, according to the UN.
Tehran’s summit confirms the U-turn in Turkey’s foreign policy given that Ankara was among the most prominent backers of the Syrian rebels. Deteriorating relations with Washington and a growing Kurdish presence in Syria’s north has led Erdogan to focus on pushing his traditional enemies away from Turkey’s southern borders.
Meanwhile, Russia and Iran continue their support for Bashar al Assad’s regime arguing that they are fighting terrorism in Syria.
Turkey is concerned that any operation that fails to distinguish terrorists from civilians could lead to civilian massacres and a huge refugee influx on its border. Ankara has suggested joint intelligence to identify members of terrorist groups without causing civilian casualties.