European leader, Russia joins Erdogan at the Syrian summit

European leader, Russia joins Erdogan at the Syrian summit
Galata Tower in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo: AP – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is ready to accept the leaders of France, Germany and Russia on Saturday (26/10) at a four-country summit on civil war in Syria.

The summit seeks to establish a ceasefire between Syrian rebels and government forces, brokered by Moscow and Ankara.

Former Turkish senior diplomat Aydin Selcen said the meeting alone was an important diplomatic achievement for Turkish leaders.

“Hosting such a summit with Russia, the Astana partner, on the one hand, on the other hand Germany and France, two NATO allies, here in Turkey, to be honest is a success for President Erdogan,” Selcen said.

The Istanbul summit was the result of an agreement last month in Sochi, Russia, which was achieved by Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which prevented the Syrian government offensive against Idlib, a province in the northwestern part of Syria.

Idlib is the last major refuge for rebellious opposition. The participation of Berlin and Paris in this round of talks was intended to keep the agreement firm. This is a commitment that seems ready to obey Moscow, at least now, analysts say.

Moscow said the agreement on Idlib was in force and Ankara obeyed its duties. Under the terms of the agreement, Ankara agreed to ensure the withdrawal of heavy weapons of radical and rebel groups from the newly formed demilitarized zone between rebel and government forces.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are expected to use the summit to consolidate the Idlib agreement.

With around 3 million people in Idlib, analysts say that European leaders fear the offensive against the province could trigger another refugee exodus to Europe. The presence of French and German leaders is thought to help strengthen Ankara’s position in countering Moscow, the main supporter of the Syrian government.