SHAFAQNA- Despite negotiations during Istanbul summit which addresses numerous solutions including Idlib demilitarised zone, constitutional reform and a UN-backed elections for Syria, Walid Muallem, Syrian Foreign Minister, announced that the Idlib province is still under the control by the terrorists who are supported by Turkey and the West.
The Syrian people have lost their homeland and identity, reduced to the labels of refugees, immigrants, terrorists, civilians, victims and opposition fighters. But, Meetings, negotiations, deals and agreements, like the latest one held last week in Istanbul, which called for a political solution to Syria’s devastating seven-year war, have all lacked one important element: Syrians.
The Syrian crisis has transformed from a demand for change to a full-scale war, due to regional and global interventions. The country is now the site of a prolonged proxy war.
After years of war in Syria, the leaders of Turkey, Russia, France and Germany were holding talks about Syria at a summit.
The absence of any Syrian groups
During the summit, the participants comprehensively discussed the Syrian conflict, focusing on the situation on the ground, the political process, and ways to harmonise joint efforts to find a lasting solution broker and attract European funding for rebuilding Syria after its war ends.
Efforts to make peace in their war-torn country, a challenge that was highlighted by the absence of any Syrian groups from the Istanbul talks.
The leaders noted the cease-fire in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, which they hope can provide some momentum for peace efforts.
It was the first time that Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met to discuss Syria, bringing together four leaders with interests in ending the war and resolving the refugee crisis it sparked, WSJ told.
The multilateral summit, which is the first of its kind, has taken place after a September agreement between Ankara and Moscow that stipulated the creation of a demilitarized buffer zone in Syria’s Idlib province, the last major rebel-held territory in the country, Sputnik News reported.
The leaders also discuss the September 17 agreement between Ankara and Moscow to establish a demilitarised zone in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib. Under the deal, opposition groups in Idlib are to remain in areas where they are already present, while Russia and Turkey carry out joint patrols in the area with a view to preventing a resumption of fighting.
More than 465,000 Syrians have been killed
More than 465,000 Syrians have been killed in the fighting, and over 12 million have been displaced since the conflict started seven years ago, according to TRT.
Meeting in an Ottoman-era mansion, the leaders set aside divisions over Syrian President Bashar Assad to agree on broad goals, including the eventual, voluntary return of millions of refugees who fled a conflict that has lasted more than seven years and killed over 400,000 people, The News Tribune mentioned.
Idlib and adjacent areas are the last stronghold of rebels who rose up against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011. The area is home to roughly three million people, more than half of whom have already been displaced during the war.
Supporting the de-escalation zone in Idblib
Germany announced that it supports the de-escalation zone in Idblib ahead and would work towards a permanent ceasefire, a spokesperson for Merkel said ahead of the summit.
“We will all be extremely vigilant to ensure that these commitments are met and that the ceasefire is stable and sustainable,” Macron told reporters after the high-level summit, press TV reported.
Macron also said any military offensive by the Syrian government would have “unacceptable security and humanitarian consequences”.
A UN-backed free and fair election
A final statement released by the leaders called for “an inclusive, Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political process,” and the convening of a committee by the end of the year to work on constitutional reform as a prelude to U.N.-backed free and fair election.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan read the statement, which hailed “progress” following a deal last month between Syrian-regime supporter Russia and rebel-backer Turkey to create a buffer zone around the northwestern province of Idlib.
The statement also called for a committee to be established to draft Syria’s post-war constitution before the end of the year, “paving the way for free and fair elections” in the war-torn country, Gulf Times noticed.
Illegal armed groups with heavy weaponry remain in Idlib
Meanwhile, according to france24, the Syrian government accused Turkey of failing to meet obligations set out in an agreement with Russia to create a demilitarised zone free of jihadists in the northwest. Ankara has rejected the accusations.
Two days after the Istanbul Summit, Syrian Foreign Minister, at a meeting with the joint delegation of the International Federation of Democratic Youth and the International Peace Council said illegal armed groups with heavy weaponry remain in Syria’s Idlib province despite the Russian-Turkish agreements reached in Sochi.
“Therefore, the Idlib province is still under control by the terrorists who are supported by Turkey and the West,” Muallem stressed, Sputnik News reported.
Syria’s civil war began during the Arab Spring in 2011. It has since escalated — shattering the lives of Syrians, destroying cities, straining global politics, and spurring diplomatic efforts that are constantly questioned as the world witnesses the horrors of ongoing warfare.