Raisi Says US Must Leave Syria ASAP as Putin Lambasts Washington's 'Destructive Policy'

© Sputnik / POOL / Go to the mediabankVladimir Putin and Ebrahim Raisi, 19 July
Vladimir Putin and Ebrahim Raisi, 19 July - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.07.2022
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is hosting the 7th Summit of Astana guarantor-states in Tehran, with the participation of Russian and Turkish leaders, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The three leaders are discussing ways to end the decades-old Syrian conflict.
Speaking on Tuesday in Tehran, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi called on the United States to immediately remove its military forces from eastern Syria, as well as the entire Middle East region.
Raisi also condemned the regular Israeli air strikes on Syria, saying they "violate the territorial integrity of Syria, destroy peace and international security." The Iranian president stressed that the security of the Syrian borders should be ensured by Syrian forces.
"The only possible way to establish a stable and secure situation on the borders of Syria with neighboring countries is the full presence of the forces of that country on the borders, as well as cooperation with neighboring countries," he said at the beginning of the trilateral summit on the Syrian settlement.
The comments came amid a trilateral summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The three nations fall on opposite sides of the Syrian conflict, with Moscow and Tehran supporting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Turkey supporting Islamist terrorist groups in Syria's northern Idlib Province, including Hay'at Tahrir ash-Sham (HTS)*.
Putin said that the US is pursuing a destructive policy in Syria, where it supports Kurdish groups in the eastern oil-rich provinces and denied Damascus control over one-third of the country, and supports Israel's airstrikes.
"We see that real threats of crime, extremism, separatism emanate from these regions," Putin said. " The destructive line of Western states led by the United States largely contributes to this.
The Russian president said Syria has seen a noticeable decrease in violence and that a political-diplomatic process has been launched. He said that Daesh** and other terrorists should be eliminated for good.
"The joint work of Russia, Iran and Turkey to promote a comprehensive resolution of the crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic is very effective. Thanks to the help and support of our countries, the level of violence in Syria has noticeably decreased, peaceful life is being revived, the economy and the social sphere are gradually being restored. And no less importantly, a real political and diplomatic settlement process has been launched on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 2254," Putin told his Iranian and Turkish counterparts.
UN vehicles escorting a Red Crescent convoy carrying humanitarian aid arrive in Kafr Batna, in the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area, on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on February 23, 2016 during an operation in cooperation with the UN to deliver aid to thousands of besieged Syrians. - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.07.2022
UNSC Extends Syria Cross-Border Aid Mechanism Accommodating Russia Concerns
The Russian president further stressed that it was necessary to create conditions for the people to determine the fate of Syria without external influence.
"It is important that the Syrians have shown their readiness to negotiate, seek and find consensus on priority issues related to the future structure of their sovereign state," Putin added.
Putin also said that the next Astana Format summit should be held in Russia. The process, begun in 2017 by Turkey, Russia, and Iran, has aimed at avoiding a return to war in Syria and preserving the country's territorial integrity. The most recent meeting was held last month in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
Erdogan, for his part, said he expects Russia and Iran to help counter terrorist groups in Syria.
"We have decided to eliminate malicious organizations in Syria that threaten our national security. We expect Russia and Iran, as guarantors of the Astana process, to express support for these efforts to Turkey," Erdogan said, referring to the Kurdish militia, which Ankara considers terrorists, and a planned military operation in northern Syria.
Earlier, Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesperson for the Turkish president, said that Ankara was ready for a new military operation in northern Syria, and it could begin at any moment. Official Damascus has repeatedly described the Turkish forces deployed at the border area of Syria to carry out operations against Kurdish militia as illegal and called on Ankara to withdraw its troops.
The news comes after the United Nations voted to adopt a six-month extension of its cross-border humanitarian aid program in Syria, albeit with stipulations demanded by Russia designed to ensure that the aid was not distributed to needy persons in Idlib by HTS.
*Hay'at Tahrir ash-Sham, (also known as Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Nusra Front, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, or al-Qaeda in Syria) is a terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other states.
**Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist organization banned in Russia and many other countries
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