Turkish & Russian FMs together at trilateral meeting, Moscow / AFP
The agreement made between Russia, Iran and Turkey in Moscow on 20 December to co-operate in ending the conflict in Syria was declared by a joint statement following the meeting.
An interesting but overlooked detail in the eight point statement is that the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey has insistently labelled a 'terrorist organisation', is not listed alongside the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) and Al-Nusra as a group to fight against.
The eighth article in the statement states: Iran, Russia and Turkey reiterate their determination to fight jointly against ISIL/DAESH and Al-Nusra and to separate from them armed opposition groups.
Some commentators have speculated that this could signal a change of approach by Turkey, while others have called for caution.
Samir Aita, a member of the Syrian Democratic Forum opposition party told Sputnik: "The fact that Russia brings Iran and Turkey to commit on peace will have positive implications on the Kurdish issue, especially to ease the tensions between Turkey and the YPG [The People's Protection Units], and more generally the Syrian Kurds."
The agreement (published below) is already having an impact on political and military matters in the region.
1. Iran, Russia and Turkey reiterate their full respect for sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic as multi-ethnic, multi-religious, non-sectarian, democratic and secular state.
2. Iran, Russia and Turkey are convinced that there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict. They recognize the essential role of the United Nations in the efforts to resolve this crisis in accordance with UNSC resolution 2254. The Ministers also take note of the decisions of the International Syria Support Croup (ISSG). They urge all members of the international community to cooperate in good faith in order to remove the obstacles on the way to implement the agreements contained in these documents.
3. Iran, Russia and Turkey welcome joint efforts in Eastern Aleppo allowing for voluntary evacuation of civilians and organized departure of armed opposition. The Ministers also welcome partial evacuation of civilians from Fuaa, Kafraia, Zabadani and Madaya. They commit to ensure the completion of the process without interruption and in a safe and secure manner. The Ministers express their gratitude to the representatives of ICRC and WHO for their assistance in conduction of the evacuation.
4. The Ministers agree on the importance of expanding ceasefire, unhindered humanitarian assistance and free movement of civilians throughout the country.
5. Iran, Russia and Turkey express their readiness to facilitate and become the guarantors of the prospective agreement, being negotiated, between the Syrian Government and the opposition. They invited all other countries with the influence on the situation on the ground to do the same.
6. They strongly believe that this Agreement will be instrumental to create the necessary momentum for the resumption of the political process in Syria in accordance with the UNSC resolution 2254.
7. The Ministers take note of the kind offer of the President of Kazakhstan to host relevant meetings in Astana.
8. Iran, Russia and Turkey reiterate their determination to fight jointly against ISIL/DAESH and Al-Nusra and to separate from them armed opposition groups.
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