Putin – ‘Irrefutable evidence’ of Syria militants planning chemical attacks

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ANKARA, Turkey – Russian President Vladimir Putin held a joint press conference with his Turkish and Iranian counterparts Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hassan Rouhani in Ankara on Wednesday after the second trilateral summit on Syria between the Astana process guarantors.

Erdogan stated that as a result of Turkey’s ‘Olive Branch’ operation in Syria “about 400 square kilometres have been liberated from the terrorists. We have not only ensured the security of this region, we have built infrastructure in the liberated territories as well.”

“Everyone knows that Turkey has more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees. After the liberation of the territories in Jarablus and Al-Bab, over 160,000 refugees returned to the liberated territories,” the Turkish leader added.

Iranian leader Rouhani emphasised “that territorial integrity of the Syrian Republic, sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic as well as the unity of the country, its independence – as the main principles – must be respected by everyone.”

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Putin on his part said the three leaders had “agreed to expand the entire complex of three-way interaction on Syria, primarily within the framework of the Astana process, which has already proved its effectiveness many times.”

“Thanks to the close cooperation of the guarantor countries – Russia, Iran and Turkey – the level of violence in Syria has been drastically reduced, ” the Russian leader added.

Putin said as well that Russia has “irrefutable evidence of militants preparing provocations using toxic substances. In this regard, we agreed to increase trilateral coordination on all aspects of counter-terrorism and information exchange.”

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