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Russia's Putin arrives in Tehran for trilateral summit on Syria

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A file photo taken on June 30, 2022 of Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) in Saint Petersburg, a picture taken on June 11, 2022, of Iran's President Ebrahim Raeisi (C) in Tehran, and a file photo taken on June 30, 2022 of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Madrid.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Iran for a summit with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts on the Syrian conflict.

Putin arrived in the capital Tehran on Tuesday, his second foreign trip since the start of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine in late February.

Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov has said Putin and Iran’s President Ebrahim Raeisi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would adopt a joint statement following their meeting in Tehran, the draft of which "has been prepared and almost agreed on."

Iran, Russia, and Turkey are the three guarantors of the so-called “Astana peace process” to end more than 11 years of conflict in the Arab country.

Erdogan has threatened to launch a new offensive in northern Syria and Tuesday's summit is expected to try to talk him out of the plan, with Iran and Russia seeking to prevent another incursion by Turkey.

Iran has already warned that any Turkish military action in Syria could destabilize the region.

Turkey has launched waves of attacks on Syria since 2016, targeting Kurdish militias and Syrian army forces.

Ankara says a strong presence of the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) which it regards as terrorists would embolden the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Turkey's decades-long war with the PKK has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Syria’s government has repeatedly condemned Turkish incursions into its territories. Russia has asked Turkey to “refrain” from launching an attack on Syria. Iran has urged caution.

Late last month, Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian visited Ankara where he said while Tehran understood Turkey’s security concerns, a military action in Syria “would be a destabilizing element in the region."

Mazloum Abdi, chief commander of the YPG-linked Syrian Democratic Forces, has urged Russia and Iran to restrain Turkey, reports said.

“We hope the attacks will not take place and that the Kurds will not be forsaken during the talks between the big powers,” he was quoted as saying.

A Turkish soldier walks next to a Turkish military vehicle during a joint US-Turkey patrol near Tel Abyad, Syria, on September 8, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)

During his trip, Putin is also scheduled to meet Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

Mikhail Bogdanov, the Kremlin special envoy for the Middle East and Africa, has noted that Moscow views Iran "as a reliable partner and a like-minded nation amid global changes".

He announced that efforts are underway to sign a new cooperation agreement between Moscow and Tehran, which would create "a strong cooperation framework for the next 20 to 25 years."

Raeisi meets Erdogan

Earlier on Tuesday, Raeisi officially welcomed Erdogan, who arrived in the capital on Monday evening.

The two presidents will take part in the seventh supreme council of cooperation between Iran and Turkey later in the day.

During the meeting, Tehran-Ankara ties would be extensively assessed and bilateral actions aimed to further promote relations between the two countries would also be discussed.

For Erdogan, the Tehran summit will provide a chance to push forth Turkey's efforts to mediate between Russia and Ukraine for a ceasefire. It will be Erdogan's first meeting with Putin since Russia launched its operation in Ukraine.

Turkey’s Istanbul hosted face-to-face talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations late in March. Moscow later said on several occasions that the negotiations had been suspended at Kiev’s initiative.

The Kremlin aide stressed ahead of Putin’s visit to Iran that "so far, neither Kiev nor Western countries have shown interest in talks."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said Putin would probably brief his Iranian and Turkish counterparts on the Russian military operation in Ukraine and would discuss related issues with them.

On February 24, Putin announced the special operation, saying it would aim to “demilitarize” and "de-Nazify” Ukraine.


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