Four-way Syria talks kick off in Istanbul
Tehran, - A four-way summit on Syria attended by the leaders of Turkey, Russia, Germany and France has begun in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
The meeting on Saturday, hosted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will see the participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy for Syria, is also attending the summit, which is expected to be followed by a joint statement, Al-Jazeera reported.
Participants were expected to address the Syrian conflict in all its aspects, focusing on the situation on the ground, the Idlib agreement, and the political process, and to harmonize joint efforts to find a lasting solution to the conflict.
Leaders had one-on-one talks ahead of the meeting.
Al Jazeera's Zena Khodr, reporting from Istanbul, said 'Russia and Turkey are billing this as a diplomatic win because they were able to bring the EU to the table'.
The leaders will also discuss the September 17 agreement between Ankara and Moscow to establish a demilitarized zone in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib.
Under the deal, opposition groups in Idlib are to remain in areas where they are already present, while Russia and Turkey carry out joint patrols in the area with a view to preventing a resumption of fighting.
Germany announced that it supports the de-escalation zone in Idblib ahead and would work towards a permanent ceasefire, a spokesperson for Merkel said ahead of the summit.
Idlib and adjacent areas are the last stronghold of rebels who rose up against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011.
The area is home to roughly three million people, more than half of whom have already been displaced during the war.
On October 10, the Turkish defense ministry announced that the Syrian opposition groups had completed the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the Idlib demilitarized zone.
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating seven-year conflict that started when the Assad government cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.
Source:. Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA