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Erdogan to Visit Tehran, Moscow Agrees on Ceasefire in Aleppo | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, with bloodied face, sits inside an ambulance after he was rescued following an airstrike in the rebel-held al-Qaterji neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria August 17, 2016. Picture taken August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Mahmoud Rslan

Ankara, Moscow, Beirut-Tripartite cooperation between Turkey, Iran and Russia over the Syrian crisis will see considerable progress with the scheduled visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Iran on Wednesday.

Well-informed sources said that Turkey was not adopting a bloc policy but rather working for the establishment of the unity of Syrian territories while simultaneously consolidating Turkey’s unity.

The sources added that Turkey wanted to “enable the Syrian people to live in a democratic regime away from sectarian and racial segregation.”

Meanwhile, Russian Ambassador to Ankara Andrey Karlov said in comments to the media that nothing could prevent the establishment of a tripartite mechanism between Russia, Turkey and Iran to resolve the crisis in Syria in light of the major role the three countries play in the region.

On the humanitarian level, the Russian Ministry of Defense has backed a proposal from the U.N. envoy to Syria to organize 48-hour weekly ceasefires to supply humanitarian relief to Aleppo citizens. The first truce could be organized as early as next week.

The proposal – which was originally voiced last week by U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura, who called for 48-hour ceasefires instead of the three hours proposed by the Russian side – has been welcomed in Moscow.

In comments to Interfax news agency, the defense ministry’s spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said that his country was ready to back the U.N. proposal to introduce the 48-hour pauses, which would allow the city’s population to be supplied with food and medication, and for vital infrastructure damaged by terrorist shelling to be restored.

He added that a test-run of the 48-hour truces could be organized next week to see if relief can reach civilians safely.

On Thursday, de Mistura said that aid convoys have not reached Syria’s besieged areas with desperately needed food and medicine for the past month.

AFP quoted the international envoy as saying: “Not one single convoy in one month has reached any of the humanitarian besieged areas.”

“I insist, on behalf of the (U.N.) Secretary General: to have a 48-hour pause in Aleppo, to start with, would require some heavy lifting not only by the two co-chairs (Russia and the United States) but also those who have influence on the ground,” de Mistura told reporters in Geneva.

Four besieged areas — Madaya, Zabadani, Foah and Kafraya — have not been reached by a convoy in 110 days, the U.N. envoy added.

Meanwhile, the European Union urged an “immediate halt” to fighting in the Syrian city of Aleppo to allow medical and humanitarian aid to reach an estimated 1.5 million trapped civilians.

In a statement issued on Thursday, EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini said: “The EU and its member States call for… an immediate halt to the fighting in Aleppo to allow medical evacuations, deliveries of aid and repairing of essential water and electricity infrastructure.”