Russian President Vladimir Putin has strengthened his international standing as a world leader in resolving 6-year war in Syria through diplomacy. Moscow supported President Bashar Assad and his government in Damascus as the sovereign authority of Syria and eliminated Islamic State and other terror groups through joint operations with Iranian militias.
Syrian President Bashar al Assad landed in the Black Sea resort of Sochi and expressed thanks to President Vladimir Putin for Moscow’s help in the fight against terrorism ahead of a summit between Russian President, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani for a fresh round of peace talks aimed at political resolution of the the civil war, that has claimed 400,000 people.
Expressing gratitude to Moscow and Russian military for eliminating ISIS in the two-year operation in the war-torn nation, Assad said, “thanks to the Russian Army, Syria has been saved as a state”.
The meeting between the two leaders was held under closed doors for three-hours where they discussed “possible options for political settlement”. Afterwards, Putin made Syrian President to meet Russian generals who were in Sochi to take part in defense-related government talks as Russia prepares to scale down its military presence in the country’s 6-year war. “I passed to (Putin) and all Russian people our greetings and gratitude for all of the efforts that Russia made to save our country,” Assad told.
Assad’s unannounced meeting with Putin comes after Russia declared victory earlier this week after taking the ISIS terrorists final stronghold of Al-Bukamal near the Iraqi border.
In September 2015, Russia helped Assad by launching military operation against extremist Islamist forces trying to overthrow the Syrian government. Assad had been under immense pressure from Washington and its European allies to step down, Moscow and Tehran backed him and insisted that it is up to the Syrian people to decide.
The absence of US and European officials at the peace talks in Sochi this week is an indication of their stand of regime change having been defeated.
Meanwhile, Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani has announced the end of Daesh’s self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria, “Today with God’s guidance and the resistance of people in the region we can say that this evil has either been lifted from the head of the people or has been reduced.” “Of course the remnants will continue but the foundation and roots have been destroyed,” he said.
Russia, Iran, and Turkey endeavour for a peaceful settlement of Syria.Negotiations between Foreign Ministers of Russia Lavrov, Javad Zarif of Iran and Mevlut Cavusoglu of Turkey took place in Antalya for the peaceful settlement of the Syria crisis prior to the Russia-Iran-Turkey summit due in Sochi on November 22.
In a telephonic conversation, United State President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to support the U.N. effort to “peacefully resolve” Syria and the displaced Syrians should be allowed to return and “the stability of a unified Syria free of malign intervention and terrorist safe havens” should be ensured.
Putin said he would also speak with other leaders in the region, including the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. He is also set to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Sochi.
The key topics in Sochi summit would be furthering a political transition, de-escalation zones in Syria, especially near Idlib, further joint actions in the Astana format, Syrian National Dialogue Congress and a new round of the intra-Syrian consultations in Geneva on November 28.
But US President Donald Trump is taking aggressive postures and has the deployment of US forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. The US has refused to leave Syria in spite of the defeat of the terror groups.
The presence of U.S. forces without the consent of the Syrian government is being viewed as an act of aggression and an attack on the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic as well as a gross violation of the charter and principles of the United Nations.
By: Arti Bali
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.