Summit on Syria to explore ways for political solution

By Nilay Kar Onum

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (AA) – The four-way Syria summit to be held in Istanbul on Saturday is set to focus on finding new ways to reach a political solution in Syria, Turkey's presidential aide said on Friday.

Speaking at an international congress in southeastern Diyarbakir province, Ibrahim Kalin said: “Our priority at this summit will be focusing on what kind of new ways could be found based on not military, but a political solution in Syria.”

The meeting to be hosted by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will see the participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Erdogan will address preserving the Idlib deal and preventing violations by the Bashar al-Assad regime in particular at the summit, Kalin said.

Turkey expects the summit in Istanbul to help form a constitutional committee, the presidential aide added.

Ankara and Moscow agreed in September to establish a demilitarized 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.

On Oct. 10, the Turkish Defense Ministry announced that the Syrian opposition and other anti-regime groups had completed the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the Idlib demilitarized zone.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.