Feb 29, 2020 18:53 Asia/Tehran [Updated: Mar 01, 2020 12:13 Asia/Tehran]
  • Iranian President Rouhani and his Turkish counterpart Erdogan
    Iranian President Rouhani and his Turkish counterpart Erdogan

Tehran (IP) - Iranian President Rouhani has told his Turkish counterpart Erdogan that innocent people should be protected in Syria's Idlib province.

Iran Press/Iran news: “The Idlib issue, with regard to the accumulation of dangerous terrorists and the importance of saving the lives of innocent people living in the area, is very complicated; the lives of people must be saved and terrorists must be eradicated,” Hassan Rouhani said in a telephone conversation with Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday.

Rouhani stressed the importance of the trilateral cooperation of Iran, Turkey, and Russia to resolve the crisis in Syria in order to strengthen the Astana process, saying: “As previously mentioned, Iran is ready to host the next round of this trilateral summit.” 

“Certainly, increasing the tension is not in the interest of anyone in the region, and we must address the issues through dialogue,” he said, adding that the Astana process shouldn’t be weakened.

President Rouhani also described the Astana Process as a great achievement for the region's security, saying, "There is no doubt that the escalation of tensions will not be beneficial to anyone in the region and we should resolve the issues through dialogue and not let the Astana Process be undermined."

Iran’s President called for holding a trilateral summit of Iran, Turkey, and Syria to resolve the issue of Idlib, saying: “We can resolve differences at this meeting, given our agreement on principles such as preserving Syria's territorial integrity, eradicating terrorists, preserving the lives of innocent people, and quickly resolving the issue of Idlib.”

Coronavirus outbreak

Regarding the coronavirus outbreak, Rouhani said: "Coronavirus has become a global issue and all countries have to stand together to overcome the crisis."

Stressing that the two countries' health ministries should work closely with each other, he continued: "Iran is ready to quickly implement joint health protocol between the two countries in fighting the virus, laying the ground for the continuation of cooperation and trade, as well as travel between Iran and Turkey."

Rouhani also held phone talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin after having a conversation with Erdogan.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also had a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in which the two sides agreed to meet face to face soon, Turkey's communications director said on Friday.

Following the escalation of tensions in Syria’s Idlib, Turkey has sent thousands of troops and heavy military hardware into Syria and Erdogan has warned Turkey would launch a full-scale offensive to repel Syrian forces unless they pulled back from Turkish observation posts in the region.

In recent days, the Syrian army has managed to liberate several areas and villages in the south and east of Idlib province. The province of Idlib is the last base of terrorists in Syria.

Syrian Army has reclaimed significant territory since launching a stepped-up offensive in December, including areas around some of the Turkish military posts in Idlib.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened the Syrian government in recent days, saying the offensive violates a 2018 deal with Russia meant to prevent a broad military operation.

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