ANKARA

Turkey, Russia and Iran reaffirmed their commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria in a joint statement Tuesday on the margins of the third meeting of the Constitutional Committee of Syria held in Geneva.   

In the statement, the three guarantor countries underlined that they were determined to fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and stand against separatist agendas aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.

They agreed to “continue cooperation in order to ultimately eliminate Daesh/ISIL, the Al-Nusra Front and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaeda or Daesh/ISIL and other terrorist groups as designated by the UN Security Council while ensuring the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure in accordance with international humanitarian law.”

The statement stressed that all three countries expressed their opposition to the illegal seizure and transfer of oil revenues of Syria, and they “condemned the illegal oil deal between a US licensed company and the illegitimate entity as part of its separatist agenda,” referring to the YPG — the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror group that has killed tens of thousands of people in Turkey over its decades-long terror campaign.

Another topic highlighted in the statement was Israeli airstrikes on Syria. The trio said they condemned “the continuing Israeli military attacks in Syria in violation of international law and international humanitarian law and undermining the sovereignty of Syria and neighboring countries as well as endangering the stability and security in the region.”

Ankara, Moscow and Tehran hailed the gathering of the third meeting of the Constitutional Committee’s Drafting Commission and demonstrated their readiness to back the committee’s work through continuous interaction with the Syrian delegates and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen as the facilitator in order to ensure its sustainable and effective functioning.

“[They] expressed their view that the work of the Constitutional Committee should be governed by a sense of compromise and constructive engagement without foreign interference and externally imposed timelines aimed at reaching a general agreement of its members that would enable the outcome to receive the widest possible support by the Syrian people.”

The statement concluded that Turkey, Russia and Iran were determined to hold the next international meeting on Syria in the Astana format as soon as possible.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, over 5 million civilians have become refugees. Turkey hosts 3.6 million of them, more than any other country in the world.

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