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د. أحمد مرعي ضيف سبوتنيك الانكليزية

الخميس, 13 أيلول, 2018


PREVIEW - Trilateral Russian-Turkish-Iranian Summit on Syria to Take Place in Tehran on Friday

* IRAN * RUSSIA * TURKEY * SUMMIT *
MOSCOW, September 7 (Sputnik) - Presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran will meet in Tehran on Friday for the third trilateral summit to discuss the situation in Syria.

The situation in Syria's northwestern Idlib province, the last major insurgency stronghold, is expected to become one of the key topics at the summit. According to the Kremlin, the terrorism hotbed in Idlib destabilizes the situation in Syria and undermines the work toward the political settlement of the conflict. Moreover, Russian officials have repeatedly warned that terrorists were planning a false-flag chemical weapons attack in Idlib with an aim to provoke Western retaliation against the Syrian government.

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani expressed hope on Thursday that Russia, Iran and Turkey, the guarantors of the Syrian ceasefire, could reach a final decision on the situation in Idlib during the summit.

The leaders are also expected to hold bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit. Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov said on Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold separate talks with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, as well as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

TURKEY'S RECOGNITION OF TAHRIR AL-SHAM AS TERROR GROUP PROMISING STEP

In late August, Turkey listed Tahrir al-Sham as an alternate name for the Nusra Front terrorist group (banned in Russia). The Nusra Front has joined four other groups in Idlib to form a terrorist alliance called Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which is widely viewed as a dominant force on the ground in the province.

According to experts, this move could have positive effects on the outcomes of the summit.

"This summit is very important, specifically concerning the issue of the Idlib region. Surely, this shall be the major subject of discussion, as the recent major political event is that Turkey has finally officially named Jabhat Fatah al Sham [Nusra Front] a terrorist organization ... This could mean that the Turkish army ... may participate directly in the battle to eliminate this organization," Samir Aita, a member of the Syrian Democratic Forum opposition party, told Sputnik.

Similar views were expressed by Mohammad Marandi, a professor at the University of Tehran, who told Sputnik that Turkey's decision could help "push things forward."

"I don't know what would be the outcome of this meeting but this declaration by the Turkish government declaring them as a terrorist organization is very important because they control most of Idlib. That shows that they probably will have progress on the upcoming summit," Marandi stressed.

According to Karim Pakzad, a researcher at the IRIS-France think tank and an expert on the Middle East, now the "key is in the hands of Turkey" to convince the radical groups in Idlib to lay down their arms.

"Idlib is situated by the Turkish border. And next to those jihadists there’re several thousands of armed opposition Turkey stationed there. Now Turkey tries to convince those jihadists to lay down the arms, and join the opposition Turkey doesn’t support," Pakzad told Sputnik.

SUMMIT COULD BE A TURNING POINT?

"I don't think that there is a final plan for Syria on the table but this summit could be clearly a turning point. Turkey needs some time to make a deal with the radical groups, such as Al-Nusra Front and IS. Turkey wants to move these groups to another place to reuse them in fighting against PKK [the Kurdistan Workers' Party] in another place," Syrian parliament member Dr Ahmad Merhi told Sputnik.

Similarly, Marandi stressed that the summit had a potential to facilitate the work aimed at finding a lasting solution to the Syrian conflict but it will take some time for the Iranians and Russians to convince Turkey to fully recognize the sovereignty of Syria.
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