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Erdogan Banks on Astana Talks to Break Idlib Impasse

© REUTERS / STRINGERTurkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of his ruling AK Party at the parliament in Ankara, Turkey, 12 February 2020.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of his ruling AK Party at the parliament in Ankara, Turkey, 12 February 2020.  - Sputnik International
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TEHRAN (Sputnik) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said, in a phone call with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, on Saturday, that Astana talks featuring their countries and Russia should be continued to achieve peace in Syria’s Idlib.
"This dialogue was very productive. We must continue it to achieve a lasting peace," Erdogan was quoted as saying by the Iranian president’s office.

Erdogan added that he was concerned about the future of the Astana process, which allows the trio to discuss events in Syria. He said that the fighting in its northwestern region should stop.

Rouhani said that the proximity of radical jihadist forces and civilians in Idlib complicated the process of taking the situation there under control.

"On the one hand, we need to protect people’s lives and on the other — to eradicate terrorists," the Iranian president was quoted as saying.

The Astana-format peace talks on Syria were first held in Kazakhstan in 2017 and featured the heads of state of Russia, Turkey and Iran. The talks resulted in the establishment of four de-escalation zones in Syria, including the Idlib province, which has remained a terrorist stronghold since 2012. 

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