Russia, Iran leaders hold bilateral meeting in Turkey


The Russian and Iranian presidents met in the Turkish capital Ankara on Monday ahead of a trilateral summit on Syria.

Vladimir Putin and Hasan Rouhani met at the official Cankaya Palace for a closed-door meeting that lasted around half an hour.

Joined by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the leaders later gathered for the fifth summit on Syria in the Astana format to discuss the latest developments in the northwestern city of Idlib, the voluntary return of refugees, and a political solution to the Syrian turmoil.

The Astana peace process — seeking to end the Syrian conflict — was launched in January 2017 upon the initiatives of Turkey, Russia, and Iran. To date a total of 13 rounds have been held in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Turkey and Russia agreed last September to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone where acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

The Syrian regime and its allies, however, have consistently broken the terms of the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the de-escalation zone.
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