Russia, Iran, Turkey Should Maintain Astana Format On Syrian Settlement - Guterres

Russia, Iran, Turkey Should Maintain Astana Format on Syrian Settlement - Guterres

UNITED NATIONS (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 12th September, 2018) UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that the Syrian ceasefire guarantors, Russia, Iran and Turkey, should continue working in the Astana format to prevent escalation of the situation in Idlib.

On Tuesday, Russia, Turkey and Iran held a quadrilateral meeting with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, during which constitutional commission and Idlib situation were reviewed.

"I think it is absolutely essential [for] Russia, Iran, and Turkey, not to mention other countries directly or indirectly involved in this situation, to really come together at the present moment more than ever because Idlib is such a mess that, without a strong commitment of all these parties, we could be moving into a situation that would lead to the kind of massive battle that would have unpredictable consequences," Guterres said at a UN stakeout, answering a question on whether there was still need to continue efforts in the Astana format.

The Idlib province is one of Syria's de-escalation zones and a remaining stronghold of terrorist insurgency in the country. Under ceasefire agreement, brokered between Syrian government troops and armed opposition, military activities are prohibited in the area, but the ceasefire guarantors, which include Russia, Turkey and Iran, repeatedly record truce violations.

The situation in Idlib has escalated over the past several weeks amid the reports of a potential government offensive after Russia said it had evidence that terrorists in Idlib were preparing a false-flag chemical weapons attack to frame the government forces and spark a US-led military intervention.

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