Putin arrives in Tehran for Astana peace summit
Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Iran for a summit with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts to discuss way forward on the ongoing Syrian conflict.
Putin arrived in the capital Tehran on Tuesday, his first foreign trip since the start of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine in late February.
Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov has said Putin and Iran’s President Ebrahim Raeisi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would adopt a joint statement following their meeting in Tehran, the draft of which "has been prepared and almost agreed on."
Iran, Russia, and Turkey are the three guarantors of the so-called “Astana peace process” to end more than 11 years of conflict in the Arab country.
Erdogan has threatened to launch a new offensive in northern Syria and Tuesday's summit is expected to try to talk him out of the plan, with Iran and Russia seeking to prevent another incursion by Turkey.
Iran has already warned that any Turkish military action in Syria could destabilize the region.
Turkey has launched waves of attacks on Syria since 2016, targeting Kurdish militias and Syrian army forces.
Ankara says a strong presence of the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) which it regards as terrorists would embolden the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Turkey's decades-long war with the PKK has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
Syria’s government has repeatedly condemned Turkish incursions into its territories. Russia has asked Turkey to “refrain” from launching an attack on Syria. Iran has urged caution.
Late last month, Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian visited Ankara where he said while Tehran understood Turkey’s security concerns, a military action in Syria “would be a destabilizing element in the region."
Mazloum Abdi, chief commander of the YPG-linked Syrian Democratic Forces, has urged Russia and Iran to restrain Turkey, reports said.
“We hope the attacks will not take place and that the Kurds will not be forsaken during the talks between the big powers,” he was quoted as saying.
During his trip, Putin is also scheduled to meet Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
Mikhail Bogdanov, the Kremlin special envoy for the Middle East and Africa, has noted that Moscow views Iran "as a reliable partner and a like-minded nation amid global changes".
He announced that efforts are underway to sign a new cooperation agreement between Moscow and Tehran, which would create "a strong cooperation framework for the next 20 to 25 years."