Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the breakdown of Syria has been prevented, and that a new stage has been reached for the possible transition to a political settlement in the war-torn country.The leaders of Russia, Iran, Turkey held a trilateral summit in the Russian city Sochi, discussing the current situation in Syria and further joint steps to restore peace and security in the country."Large-scale military operations against terrorist gangs in Syria are coming to an end. I should note that thanks to the efforts of Russia, Iran and Turkey, it was possible to prevent the disintegration of Syria and conquest by international terrorists, as well as to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe," Putin said at the summit, Xinhua news agency reported.According to Putin, the regime of the cessation of hostilities is observed in Syria, four de-escalation zones are functioning in key regions of the country and hundreds of thousands of refugees have begun returning to their hometown."It can be stated with certainty that we have reached a new stage that opens the door to a real political settlement process," he said.
Underlining that the political settlement must be formalized within the framework of the Geneva process, Putin suggested developing a long-term "comprehensive system for the revival of Syria."He said the success of the forthcoming reforms largely depends on the solution of the social and economic problems of Syria, as well as the restoration of industry, agriculture, infrastructure, health and education systems.In particular, the president highlighted the importance of speeding up the implementation of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress and proposed to discuss the parameters of the forum with the other two heads of state."It is obvious that the process of reform will be difficult, will require compromises and concessions from all its participants, including the Syrian government. I hope Russia, Iran and Turkey together will make the most active efforts to make this work as productive as possible," he said.
The Syrian National Dialogue Congress, proposed by Moscow in late October at Astana talks in Kazakhstan for Syrian settlement, is expected to bring together opposition and pro-government forces, as well as representatives of all Syrian ethnic and religious groups to work for the peace process in the country.On Tuesday, first deputy chairman of the Russian Federation Council's Defense and Security committee Frants Klintsevich said that the fight against Islamic State terrorist group in Syria will possibly be over by the end of the year and Russia may be able to withdraw its air forces.The Syrian armed conflict broke out in 2011 and Russia started to participate in the anti-terrorist operations in Syria in September 2015.