Putin: Liberation of Aleppo Essential to Normalizing Syria
Dec. 23, 2016 (EIRNS)—If the destabilization of the Middle East that we know today began with the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, then the return to normalization has begun with the Russian military intervention in Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin said as much this morning, during his annual year-end press conference. "Liberation of Aleppo from radical elements is an essential component of a full normalization in Syria, and I hope in the region on the whole," he said, reported TASS.
"And this operation, certainly, there is no doubt about it, ended with a direct participation—if not to say a decisive participation and influence of our military, especially in its final part, concerning the humanitarian operation."
A ceasefire across the entire territory of Syria should be next, he said, followed by "practical negotiations" on a political settlement in Syria, which the president of Kazakhstan has agreed to host.
Putin placed great stress on the point that the final evacuation of the jihadis from Aleppo proceeded without combat operations.
"It could not be done without active involvement of the Turkish leadership, the Turkish president, the Iranian president and the entire Iranian leadership and our participation,"
Putin said. "Naturally, it could not be done without good will and efforts taken by Syrian President Assad and his team." Putin stressed that Russia is ready to develop the "much-needed format" of Syrian settlement involving Iran and Turkey and is open for participation of other countries.
The evacuation from Aleppo was the largest humanitarian action in the modern world, he added. "In practice, life has proved that such format [involving Iran and Turkey] is much-needed and, naturally, we will develop it further," he said. "But I would not ignore the interests and participation of other countries of the region—Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt—and, naturally, it would be wrong to address such matter without such a global player as the United States."