Erdogan in Tehran for summit with Putin, Rouhani
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has arrived in Tehran for a summit with his counterparts, Hassan Rouhani of Iran and Russia's Vladimir Putin, to discuss key issues of interest, mainly a planned Syrian operation to retake Idlib.
According to Press TV, the three presidents were due to meet Friday as part of their efforts to return peace and stability to Syria which is gearing up for a decisive battle to expel terrorists from their last major urban stronghold.
Ankara, Moscow and Tehran are guarantors of the Astana peace process, a track of negotiations which have resulted in Syria's return of several terrorist-held provinces to the government fold and allowed civilians to move to safe zones.
Ahead of his visit to Tehran, Erdogan said Turkey aims to find a "permanent solution" to the conflict in its southern neighbor through the discussions.
Ankara is worried that an operation in Idlib could lead to a wave of refugees pouring across the border into Turkey. The Friday meeting aims to find a mutually acceptable formula to avoid such consequences.
Turkey agreed with Russia and Iran last year to make Idlib a "de-escalation zone" of reduced conflict. Syria and Russia say the province has now become a "nest of terrorists" which has to be dismantled by force.
Idlib's dominant rebel faction is Tahrir al-Sham, an alliance spearheaded by al-Qaeda's former affiliate in Syria, the Nusra Front, though other groups are also present.