Turkey Strikes Kurdish Positions in Northern Syria

Turkey Strikes Kurdish Positions in Northern Syria

Turkey Strikes Kurdish Positions in Northern Syria

The first summit on Syria to bring together the leaders from Germany, Russia, Turkey and France ended with a new appeal for a political solution to the country's seven-year war but sidestepped more contentious issues including the future of Mr Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Calling the discussions "fruitful and honest", Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan said all four participants - including Germany and France - agreed to support a United Nations-backed push to form a new constitutional committee for Syria by the end of the year.

Under an agreement reached by Russian Federation and Turkey last month, a demilitarized zone was set up in Idlib to avoid a full offensive by government troops.

Reaffirming the solidarity with the host countries, in particular Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, the leaders "recalled that they remain committed to the safe and voluntary return of refugees to Syria on conditions consistent with the global law".

On Friday, Erdogan said Ankara would not allow "terror groups located east of the Euphrates River" to threaten Turkey's security.

Erdogan, a vocal opponent of Assad, said that Syrians "inside and outside" the country will decide the president's fate.

Turkish forces bombarded Kurdish YPG militia positions on the eastern shore of the Euphrates River in northern Syria, state-owned Anadolu news agency said on Sunday.

Paris also said it wants the effective launch of an inclusive political process in accordance with a United Nations resolution.

"It is very hard because we are in the last stages, where nearly every [Islamic State] fighter is in a suicide belt", said Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the coalition.

There is a need to start work on a constitution in Geneva - a new constitution for Syria will be written in Geneva by a special committee.

"Russia and Turkey have negotiated an agreement that must be strictly implemented".

Russian military support, along with backing from Iran, has helped Assad to recover much of the territory lost to rebels in the last few years.

The UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura also attended the summit and discussed the matter of forming a constitutional committee.

"A joint solution can be achieved, not through military means, but only through political effort under the United Nations aegis", she added. Government forces have retaken control of most areas previously held by rebels.

France has repeatedly stressed that the cease-fire in Idlib was "fragile" and needed to be strengthened, and considered the summit an "opportunity" to support the formation of a constitution drafting committee in Syria.

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