Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) , Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (C) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (L)greeting the media during a trilateral summit in Tehran. AFP / TURKISH PRESIDENCY PRESS OFFICE / Handout
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The presidents of Turkey, Iran and Russia Friday failed to agree on a cease-fire that would forestall a Syrian government offensive in rebel-held Idlib province which the United Nations fears could cause a humanitarian catastrophe involving tens of thousands of civilians. Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russia's Vladimir Putin and Iran's Hassan Rouhani, meeting in Tehran for a summit of key foreign players in Syria's war, agreed in a final statement that there could be no military solution to the conflict and it could only end through a negotiated political process.But as Syrian government and Russian warplanes mounted airstrikes in Idlib Friday morning in a possible prelude to a full-scale offensive, Putin and Rouhani pushed back against Erdogan's call for a truce.Rouhani said the battle in Syria would continue until rebels were pushed out of the whole country, especially in Idlib, but he added that any military operations should avoid hurting civilians.
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