Turkey, Iran and Russia have announced the formation of a committee to draft a new Syrian constitution as first step in a political solution to 8-year war in Syria and condemned the U.S. decision to recognize Syria's occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory.
The formulation of the committee came after a meeting in Ankara of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Monday (Sept 16) hosted his Russian and Iranian counterparts, Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani, which was the fifth such summit since the trio launched the Astana talks nearly three years ago.
The meeting was billed as a chance to focus on Idlib, the final rebel stronghold where an offensive by Syrian Govt forces, backed by Russian airpower, has killed hundreds of civilians and threatened Turkey with a fresh exodus of refugees, according to Al Jazeera.
"During the summit, we made important decisions that will create hope for a political resolution in Syria. We have once more declared that all of us have the same sensitivity when it comes to the territorial integrity and political unity of Syria. We have underlined the rejection of giving support to terrorist organizations on the grounds of the fight against Daesh," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a press conference.
"We have displayed a constructive and flexible approach regarding the procedural rules and members of the constitutional committee. We have shown effort to advance the political process. Henceforth, problems about the establishment of the committee have been eliminated with our joint efforts," Erdoğan said.
The formation of the constitutional committee is to be kicked off as soon as possible, in accordance with the United Nations, after the meetings, Erdoğan underlined.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's remarks on the constitutional committee, saying they hope work will start immediately. "We hope that it will overhaul the constitution," he said.
For his part, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the list for the committee has been approved, and the work should begin right away.
"As a result of this convention, the decision to form the constitutional committee has been made. The said committee should start work in Geneva as soon as possible," Putin said.
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)
Ankara is also concerned about the threat to its troops based at 12 observation posts set up around Idlib as well as the enclave of Syrian Kurdish-controlled territory along its border, according to Al Jazeera.
Turkey has agreed, along with the United States, to set up a corridor along the border with the northeastern area under the sway of the US-backed Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Ankara considers the SDF a terrorist group with ties to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a 35-year armed actions inside Turkey.
Rouhani and Putin stressed the need to combat "terrorism" in Idlib and in other parts of Syria, suggesting alignment with Ankara's view of the SDF.
"It's not a good day to be an SDF member," said Selim Sazak, a researcher at Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs in the US.