4 leaders want committee on Syrian constitution

4-way Istanbul summit on Syria to be held on Saturday

Russia, Germany, France, Turkey leaders meet for Syria 21min

The leaders of Turkey, Russia, France and Germany on Saturday called for a ceasefire around the last major rebel-held bastion of Idlib in Syria to be preserved.

Speaking at a joint press conference following the quadrilateral summit in Istanbul, Erdogan said that the summit had "a fruitful and honest consultation", called for the completion of the constitution committee's process in Syria as soon as possible, reaffirmed its strongest opposition to the use of chemical weapons by any party in Syria, among others.

In correspondence with the constant shelling of Idlib, the "al-Watan" newspaper, close to the Syrian regime, said that the Assad's forces have set up a map of the opposition factions' presence in the buffer zone, agreed upon by Russian Federation and Turkey.

The note goes on to highlight the leaders' commitment to "working together" to "to create conditions for peace and stability in Syria, encourage a political solution and strengthen worldwide consensus in that regard".

"We will continue eliminating threats against our national security at its root in the Euphrates' east as we have done so in its west", Erdogan said.

Turkey's official Anadolu news agency said that artillery strikes hit positions belonging to the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, in Zor Moghar.

Russian Federation backs the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"The constitutional committee needs to be established, and should hold its first meeting by the end of the year. Refugees should take part in this process as well", Merkel said. Putin spoke ahead of the summit by phone to Macron and Erdogan.

"Russia's presence in the region can not replace the longstanding, enduring, and transparent United States commitment to the Middle East", Mattis said.

In turn, the German Chancellor stressed the need for a political process to end the conflict under the auspices of the United Nations, with the ultimate goal of free elections.

"We must advance with the political process at the end of which there must be free elections open to all Syrians -- including those in the diaspora", Merkel said.

Washington's support of the YPG remains a major point of contention between the USA and Turkey, NATO allies who have seen relations deteriorate over the last two years.

"Russia and Turkey have negotiated an agreement that must be strictly implemented".

Internationally observed elections - All Syrians, including those who had to flee the country, must be able to participate in democratic elections monitored by an worldwide body. The area is home to an estimated three million people, more than half of whom have already fled other areas as government forces advanced.

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