TEHRAN: Russia, Turkiye and Iran on Tuesday vowed to continue their cooperation to “eliminate terrorists” in Syria, in a trilateral statement after their presidents met in Tehran.

The three countries “reaffirmed the determination to continue their ongoing cooperation in order to ultimately eliminate terrorist individuals, groups, undertakings and entities,” the statement read.

They “expressed their opposition to the illegal seizure and transfer of oil revenues that should belong to Syria”. They also “rejected all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combating terrorism, including illegitimate self-rule initiatives, and expressed their determination to stand against separatist agendas” in Syria.

The trilateral statement was released after Turkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged his Russian and Iranian counterparts to back his efforts to fight “terrorism” in Syria. It comes after he has lately repeatedly threatened to launch a military offensive against a semi-autonomous Kurdish administration in Syria’s oil-rich northeast.

For Iran, at odds with US over its nuclear programme, Putin’s visit holds great significance

Turkiye has launched waves of attacks on Syria since 2016, targeting the Kurdish fighters as well as those of the militant Islamic State group. It has also supported Syrian rebels against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Iran and Russia are also involved in Syria’s conflict, but support, rather than oppose, Assad. “It should be understood clearly that there is no room in our region’s future for separatist terror organisations,” Erdogan said at the summit.

“We will continue our fight against terrorist organisations in the time to come,” he added.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had however told the Turkish leader in a pre-summit meeting that a new Turkish offensive against the Kurds in Syria would be “detrimental” for the region. He called for the issue to be resolved through dialogue between Ankara, Damascus, Moscow and Tehran.

It was not immediately clear whether the trilateral statement at the end of the summit reflected any alteration in Iran’s position on a Turkish offensive.

Putin meets Khamenei

Earlier President Putin held talks with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Kremlin leader’s first trip outside the former Soviet Union since Moscow’s Feb 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Putin’s trip, which came just days after US President Joe Biden visited Israel and Saudi Arabia, sends a strong message to the West about Moscow’s plans to forge closer strategic ties with Iran, China and India in the face of Western sanctions.

Footage of Putin’s meeting with Ayatollah Khamenei showed the Russian leader and the Iran­ian president sat together a few metres from the Supreme Leader, in a spartan white room. Only an Iranian flag and a portrait of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini could be seen in the background.

“The contact with Khamenei is very important,” Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s foreign policy adviser, told reporters in Moscow. “A trusting dialogue has developed between them on the most important issues on the bilateral and international agenda.”

“On most issues, our positions are close or identical.”

For Iran, also chafing under worst Western economic sanctions and at loggerheads with the United States over Tehran’s nuclear programme and a range of other issues, Putin’s visit is timely.

Published in Dawn, July 20th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Punjab crisis
01 Dec, 2022

Punjab crisis

ADMINISTRATIVE chaos has ruled Punjab ever since the ouster of the PTI government in April, deepening the...
Quetta attack
01 Dec, 2022

Quetta attack

It would be foolishness of the highest order were the authorities to ignore the emerging threat.
World AIDS Day
01 Dec, 2022

World AIDS Day

AS countries mark World AIDS Day on Dec 1, a timely report from Unicef has renewed concerns about the severe...
A call for bloodshed
30 Nov, 2022

A call for bloodshed

The state has wasted precious time by not consolidating its success in pushing TTP out of its strongholds in the north.
Missing childhoods
30 Nov, 2022

Missing childhoods

THE fact is that despite some legal efforts to end the curse of child marriage taking place in Pakistan under the...
Unemployment concerns
30 Nov, 2022

Unemployment concerns

THE ILO finding that labour market recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in Pakistan, as in many other...