Syrian regime allies Russia and Iran are expected to discuss efforts to secure a ceasefire in Aleppo with Turkey, which has supported various armed groups seeking to overthrow dictator Bashar al-Assad, revealed Turkish Foreign Minister (FM) Mevlut Cavusoglu.
The revelation comes amid the suspension of the most recent Aleppo truce agreement reached between Turkey and Russia that was supposed to result in the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from Aleppo to rebel-held Idlib.
Turkey and opposition fighters have accused the Assad regime of obstruction. Nevertheless, Turkey’s foreign minister has said evacuations are continuing.
Military support from Russia and Iran made it possible for the Assad regime to recapture Aleppo, which until recently had been roughly divided between Syrian regime control in the west and rebel control in the east.
There have already been multiple attempts at a ceasefire since Aleppo fell to the Russia and Iran-backed Syrian regime.
“The best solution [on Syria] is always a political one. We are making efforts to provide a ceasefire across the entire country and at the same time to initiate a resumption of negotiations. Our efforts will continue in this direction,” FM Cavusoglu told Turkish media on Wednesday, reports Hurriyet Daily News.
“In this framework, we’ll be conducting a trilateral Turkey-Iran-Russia meeting in Moscow on Dec. 27,” he added.
The Turkish FM noted that on Wednesday he spoke with his Russian and Iranian counterparts on the phone about a ceasefire in Aleppo that would pave the way for the evacuation of civilians from the besieged city.
Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told reporters earlier this month that the Assad regime is guilty of human atrocities and war crimes, adding that a ceasefire would allow humanitarian aid for civilians to flow into Aleppo.
Soon after he made those comments, Assad took over Aleppo.The spokesman also revealed that Turkey has been holding intense discussions with Russia about the implementation of a truce in Aleppo.
That same day, December 8, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim declared that the nearly year-long hiatus in relations between Moscow and Ankara is “over” during his first visit to Russia as PM.
In the months following the November 2015 shooting down of a Russian warplane by Turkey, Ankara launched efforts to normalize its relationship with Moscow.
Turkey has reportedly expressed regret for shooting down a Russian warplane over the Turkish-Syrian border, a move that severely damaged the relationship between the two countries.