Previous parts of the book:
Highly recommended to read them all first, before reading this part!
Again, a few basic rules:
ALAFF is going to post the whole translation by parts. In this post you will have ninth part — «The liberation of Aleppo and the intensification of military-political efforts to establish an all-Syrian regime for the cessation of hostilities«. Text may be supported by links and photos to enrich the submitted material. Some photos are originally from the book, some from other resources to illustrate material of the book. Feel free to follow the links, as well as click on the images for bigger size. The end of each post will contain footnotes and sources.
In some places there may be a personal ALAFF’ comment — it will be indicated as «ALAFF remark» and it will be highlighted in brown. Naturally, this comment(s) is a personal poin of view and it is not directly related to the book (i.e it is not presented in the book).
This is the penultimate part of the book.
Structure of the book:
- Introduction — p.10
- Aleppo, information war and attempts to contain Russia — p.19
- UN initiatives to rescue militants in Aleppo — p.48
- Humanitarian pauses and humanitarian convoys — p.51
- The initiative of urgent medical evacuation from the Eastern Aleppo — p.68
- «Egeland’s plan» or blackmail of groupings — p.77
- Evacuation of «civil activists» — p.89
- Initiative of S. de Mistura on the withdrawal Jabhat al-Nusra militants from the Eastern Aleppo — p.93
- Russian-American negotiation on Aleppo and issues of combating terrorism in Syria— p.99
- A «narrow group» of interested states — a multipolarity or polycentric dualism? — p.163
- Evacuation of militants from Eastern Aleppo — a unique operation of the Russian military — p.177
- The liberation of Aleppo and the intensification of military-political efforts to establish an all-Syrian regime for the cessation of hostilities — p.187
- «Lessons of Aleppo»: geopolitics of the Syrian crisis in the context of the transforming world order — p.213
The liberation of Aleppo and the intensification of military-political efforts to establish an all-Syrian regime for the cessation of hostilities.
Indeed, the problem of Aleppo, further dividing the opposing sides in the public space, in practical terms, served as a stimulus for activating the process of searching for optimal negotiation formats for finding solutions to this plot. As discussed above, its discussion took place during Russian-American contacts in the so-called «Lausanne format» (the latter more met the multipolarity criteria), and also at the bilateral level (Russia — the countries of the region).
Moscow’s very creative formula for solving the Aleppo issue suggested a combination of effective military actions with negotiation methods (direct contacts of Russian military with armed groups with Turkish participation).
In this regard, it is interesting to look at the reasons why the Lausanne format, which looked very promising and theoretically met the tendencies of the development of the modern system of international relations towards multipolarity, did not become an effective tool for solving the Aleppo problem.
There are several reasons. As it seems, one of the main things is that Iran and Saudi Arabia were not ready to work seriously in this format. The main antagonists of the region, competing in the same period not only in Syria, but also in Yemen and Iraq, were not able to search — especially in public — the formulas for the solution of the Syrian conflict.
Another reason is Qatar’s extremely tough, uncompromising position. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of that country, A. Al-Thani, publicly announced the Doha’s intention to continue arming Syrian militants — even if D. Trump turns off the support of anti-government forces . The fact that the position of this state has not changed, was eloquently evidenced by the arrogant, sometimes defiant behavior of Qatari diplomats on international platforms. This was also confirmed by the consultations of the UN Secretary General Special Envoy for Syria S. de Mistura in Doha, which took place during the same period. S. de Mistura admitted in a conversation with Russian diplomats that from his visit to Doha he made a clear impression that Qatar remains on uncompromising positions on the Syrian «dossier».
In these conditions, in parallel with the Russian-American consultations and contacts in the «Lausanne group», the search for optimal formats for the settlement of the Syrian crisis and, in particular, the problem of Aleppo as one of its important aspects continued.
Thus, after the start of a phased restoration of relations between Russia and Turkey, constant contact was established between the military of the two states. For Russia, Aleppo was the most important problem that failed to be solved in cooperation with the United States. And most of the groups operating there  anyway were focused on Ankara, first of all, on Turkish special services. If some units had sponsors from among the Arab states (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc.), then without logistic support from Turkey they would be cut off from the main channel of supplying weapons and people, and would not be able to keep East Aleppo. No matter how Western and other sponsors helped them through «tamed» NGOs and foundations, this would not be enough to conduct military operations and exercise effective control over occupied territories.
Aleppo, of course, was strategically important and in many respects symbolic city for Turkey from a historical point of view. However, an even more topical priority for Ankara was preventing the creation of a unified zone on the border with Syria, which would be controlled by Kurds from the Democratic Union Party (PYD). In the existential plan it was even more important for Turkey to break the Kurdish «belt», to wedge into the Kurdish territories. Ankara’s strategic goals were to split the potential Kurdish belt linking the western (Afrin) and eastern (Qamishli) enclaves, creating a «buffer zone» of security (to a depth up to 50 km.) along the border from Azaz to Jarabulus, which could, after taking Al-Bab, to become a bridgehead for an offensive against the capital of the «caliphate» — Raqqa.
A very powerful factor was imposed on this, related to the restoration of Russian-Turkish relations and Russia’s firm position on condemning the attempted military coup in Turkey (July 15-16, 2016), which was announced right after the Turkish leadership officially apologized for the downed aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces on November 24, 2015. It is clear that after the support given to R.T. Erdogan from Moscow during the attempted coup d’etat (moreover, against the background of the vague position of the West), the Turkish president was disposed to take visible steps aimed at improving relations with Russia. The restoration of Russian-Turkish interaction was not some ephemeral process, expressed in vague declarations of intent. At least in the case of Syria, it was about specific steps designed to regulate and harmonize the actions of the two countries «on the ground». This was both regular telephone talks of the chiefs of staff, the signing in January 2017 of a memorandum on the prevention of dangerous incidents in the air, and regular contacts at various levels. In this case, from the strategic point of view for Ankara, it was important not so much to retain control over Aleppo, as to get an opportunity to conduct the operation «Euphrates Shield», which the Turks carried out jointly with the detachments of the Syrian Free Army controlled by them; its official goal was to fight against ISIS, but other tasks were also resolving, related to countering the attempts by the Kurds of the Democratic Union Party to create a «belt» on the Syrian-Turkish border, as well as actively developing the territories liberated from ISIS/Kurds.
However, it would not be entirely true to say that the assistance in resolving the situation in Aleppo through its transition under the control of the SAR government was some sort of «huge concession» from Ankara to Moscow. Let’s not forget that the grouping of militants who remained surrounded in Eastern Aleppo, as well as members of their families, were by no means in an enviable position. The rebels were in a tight ring of Syrian government forces, the «Tigers» group of H. Suheil, Lebanese «Hezbollah», Iraqi and Afghan Shiites, so the fall of the rebel stronghold in Aleppo was a matter of time. The work of Russian and Syrian aviation on the positions of militants also was the motivation for the decision to surrender. Thus, Ankara, while agreeing to evacuation under conditions where the forces of Damascus and its opponents were unequal, also benefited from the preservation of loyal forces and the possibility of their eventual use in the future to achieve certain goals «on the ground». So the Turks did not lose.
Thus, the problem of Aleppo was solved, no matter how paradoxical this may sound, by players who pursued completely different goals in Syria. Due to at that time objectively coincided interests «on the ground» and in the political field, both Moscow and Ankara considered it expedient to close this issue on the terms that suited both sides.
In general, the development of cooperation to solve the problem of the Eastern Aleppo in the triangle Russia-Turkey-Iran (let’s not forget about the role of Tehran in ensuring cooperation with the Shiite groups) laid the foundation for the subsequent major arrangements for establishing a ceasefire in Syria with guarantees from Moscow, Ankara and Tehran.
Tight Russian-Turkish contacts were continued — this time in the form of the mediation of the Turkish side during the talks in Ankara between the Russian military and large anti-government groups operating in the north and in the center of Syria, on the introduction of the regime of the cessation of hostilities (RCH). Let’s mention right now why the detachments controlling the south of the SAR were not involved in this process at first. Firstly, there were no serious military operations at that time in those provinces. Secondly, in order to pull up the appropriate groupings under the «umbrella» of the RCH, it was necessary to involve Jordan, and through it — the United States. The experience of interaction with Washington, testifying to the inability of the B. Obama administration to fulfill the obligations it assumed upon signing the Russian-American agreements of September 9, 2016, did not speak in favor of involving the United States in the process of elaborating the conditions for a new RCH — at least until the arrival of D. Trump administration. In this regard, the bet was initially made exactly on the units associated with Turkey.
Contacts with Iran as a key player able to work with the official Damascus, as well as influencing numerous pro-government detachments «on the ground», did not stop too. In advance to «pull up» Iran to implement future agreements on the introduction of a cessation of hostilities was extremely important for ensuring the stability of the armistice. In this regard, the Russian side, through diplomatic and military channels, actively pushed Tehran to realize the need to restore the ceasefire in Aleppo, and then throughout Syria. According to Moscow, this in no way would mean stopping the fight against terrorism. On the contrary, it would allow focusing on defeating jihadists, and would also create conditions for the transition to a political settlement of the Syrian crisis with the participation of a moderate armed opposition. Given the impressive success of the Syrian army with the support of pro-government forces «in the field» in October-December 2016, it was a very difficult task to convince Tehran that the restoration of the armistice in Syria is topical and necessary. All these issues were discussed, including during the Russian-Iranian-Syrian talks in Moscow with S.V. Lavrov, M.J. Zarif and W. Muallem on October 28, 2016.
Along with the talks in Ankara and Russia’s contacts with the region players, there was intensive diplomatic work on the already established axis Russia-Turkey-Iran through bilateral channels. An important fundamental meeting in this context was talks in Moscow on December 20, 2016 between S.V. Lavrov, M.J. Zarif and M. Cavusoglu. As a result, a joint statement was issued, which became the first such document, which fixed a number of principles on which mutual understanding was achieved between one of the «great powers» (in the Yalta-Potsdam categories) and two key regional players supporting the opposite sides in the conflict in the SAR.
Two important statements were written in the Joint Statement, among other things.
— The evacuation of civilians and militants from Eastern Aleppo was welcomed . This was an unprecedented decision for Ankara, because in the classic sense it «lost» in Aleppo and had to, along with other members of the anti-Asad camp, «resolutely condemn the seizure» by the regime and its allies of «Syria’s second most important city». The consent of the Turks to welcome the «transfer» of Aleppo to the official Damascus was an unequivocal signal to the states that sought to overthrow B. Assad that the given «green light» for the evacuation of Aleppo militants is a deliberate decision by Turkey. And also — to the factions inside East Aleppo, sponsored by the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, that even if the curators continue their support, it will hardly be possible to use the logistics and other opportunities that the Turkish territory represents (at least in the same volume and for a certain period of time).
— Russia, Iran and Turkey have expressed their readiness to contribute to the elaboration of a future agreement between the Syrian government and the opposition, the negotiations about which were conducted in Ankara by Russian military with anti-government groups mediated by Turkey, and become the guarantors of this agreement. The joint statement is an important document also because it clearly illustrates the following: the solution of an important but still local Aleppo problem has become a kind of «trigger» for reaching larger agreements related to the establishment of a ceasefire regime in Syria since December 30, 2016.
The tripartite ministerial meeting in Moscow on December 20, 2016, of course, was not easy. An important task was to achieve from Iranians guarantees for the cooperation of Shiite detachments (the difficulties were indeed: for example, linking the exit from the city with the organization of the evacuation of residents from the Shiite enclaves of Fua and Kafraya). There were also many questions to the Turkish side — first of all, how long the Turkish military will remain on Syrian territory in the framework of the operation «Euphrates Shield». Disputes between the parties came out during the negotiation of the final statement.
Thus, the Turks tried to promote the idea that the control over the areas liberated from terrorists of Syria will be transferred to «local forces», raised the issue of the immediate withdrawal from the country’s territory of «foreign Shiite formations». In many respects, thanks to Russia’s mediation, it was possible to take off these inquiring demands, to vector the parties to the fact that the participants in the Syrian negotiations should determine the future structure of Syria and that the SAR government has the legal right to make independent decisions on the country’s defense (including involving foreign forces in this task). The main thing — it was recognized that Iran and Turkey are «part» of the solution of the Syrian crisis, and therefore should be involved in the search for its formula. As for the role of Russia, both M. Cavusoglu and M.J. Zarif recognized that Moscow — in contrast to Washington — keeps the word, its position is not subjected to conjunctural fluctuations.
Let’s consider the possible reasons that motivated the Turks to go to an agreement with Iran on Aleppo. The position of Ankara is of key importance here. It’s difficult to call the Turkish-Iranian relations easy. Their development is characterized by a traditional paradigm of restraining the intensity of competition in order to preserve interaction on issues of common interest . And it is understandable that in Syria, Turkey and Iran acted as antagonists, supporting the opposite sides of the conflict. At the same time, Ankara looked at the interaction with Iran from longer-term strategic positions. Firstly, Turkey could not ignore the potential changes in the ranking of forces in the region after the signing in July 2015 of an agreement between the «six» international mediators and Iran on the Iranian nuclear program. A phased abolition of international sanctions, stipulated in the agreements, opened up additional opportunities for Tehran to return to the international arena as a full-fledged player. And — more importantly — strengthened Iran’s position in the region, helped to activate its role in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen — in countries where the pro-Iranian Shiite forces and formations acted. Ankara, of course, could not stay aside and observe the change in the regional balance in favor of Tehran. However, neither Turkey nor Iran allowed themselves to go to a head-on collision in Syria, because they demonstrated for a long time the ability to restrain their rivalry and avoid open conflicts, carefully creating cooperation spheres at the same time . Moreover, the gradual reintegration of Iran into the world community created the risk of reaching agreements between the West and Tehran on Syria without taking into account the interests of Ankara. In this sense, Iran would in some way replace Turkey for the West,
relations with which just at this time passed the next test for strength. The reason is the indistinct position taken by Brussels and Washington at the beginning of the military coup attempt in Turkey, serious problems in the dialogue with the European Union on migration, which is why the Turkish-EU relations have periodically sparked, as well as a constant irritant in the form of the preacher F. Gulen residing in the US. Even more grim scenario for Ankara is the possibility of starting cooperation between Iran and the United States, Russia and China, again, bypassing Turkish interests. Moreover, the rapprochement between Iran and Russia, provoked by Syrian events, objectively created additional risks for Turkey in the region. Finally, R.T. Erdogan at this time continued to withdraw Turkey from international isolation, which resulted because of the failure of the foreign policy doctrine of «Neo-Ottomanism», put forward by him as an alternative to the former «European vector» of Turkish policy . This required Ankara to revise relations with a number of countries, including Israel, Russia, Egypt and, of course, Iran. So Ankara’s decision to cooperate with Iran on Aleppo served Turkey’s interests, allowing to prevent, slow down or even turn in its favor some of the current trends in the region of the Middle East. A number of the advantages that were due to Ankara’s cooperation with Iran and Russia on Aleppo and on Syria on the whole, ensured Turkey with a very advantageous lot: rescuing the forces under its control in the surrounded East Aleppo while preventing the joining of Kurdish-controlled cantons in the north of Syria (which, incidentally, was in the interests of Tehran too, who was not attracted by the prospect of creating a unified Kurdish belt on the Syrian-Turkish border), a reserve for the development of economic relations with Iran in the period after the lifting of sanctions , the anchoring for Ankara a place in the format «Russia — the key countries of the region» (arising in the period of «timelessness» in Washington because of the arrival of the new US Administration) and, as a consequence, increasing the role of Turkey in the region.
On December 29, 2016, it was announced that agreements had been reached between Russia and armed groups under Turkish mediation, which proclaimed a ceasefire throughout Syria .
Following a two-month talks between Russia and the Syrian armed anti-government groups with Turkish mediation, a package of three agreements was signed in Ankara.
Excerpt from the UN Document S/2016/1133.
First — the Statement on the introduction of the regime of the cessation of hostilities (RCH) in the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic. It dealt with a truce that came into effect on December 30, 2016, and also contained the obligations of both warring parties (refrain from striking any kind of weapons, seizing territories, proportionally using force, etc.) . Let’s pay attention to the fact that the statement was drawn up on behalf of the Russian Federation. The «package» also included a press release from the Turkish Foreign Ministry, which welcomed the achievement of ceasefire agreements and stressed that Ankara and Moscow would act as guarantors of the ceasefire.
Excerpt from the UN Document S/2016/1133.
Second — an Agreement on a mechanism for recording violations of the regime of the cessation of hostilities, announced in Syria since December 30, 2016, and the regime for applying sanctions against violators. Russia and Turkey, as guarantors of the RCH, agreed to establish a Joint Commission (its representative offices are located in Moscow and Ankara), which manages the activities of control points to monitor the RCH and submits proposals on bringing perpetrators to justice. The points of control were created in close proximity to the actual line of contact of the parties . The document was signed by the representatives of Russia and Turkey, and the certified copy was signed by the responsible persons of the Government of the SAR.
Excerpts from the UN Document S/2016/1133.
Finally, the third — the Agreement on the formation of delegations for the beginning of negotiations on a political settlement with a view to the comprehensive resolution of the Syrian crisis by peaceful means. This document is the only one which has the signatures of representatives of armed groups who previously participated in the negotiations in Ankara (a general power of attorney from the commanders of the detachments is attached to the paper, giving their representatives — Usama Ibrahim Maatermavi and Munzer Seras — the right to sign the Agreement on their behalf), as well as Russia and Turkey. The document stated that the leaders of the armed groups join the RCH and undertake to form a delegation to negotiate with the government in Astana on the political settlement of the Syrian crisis peacefully with the support of the guarantors — Russia and Turkey .
The announcement of the signing of the Agreements took place on December 29, 2016 during the working meeting of V.V. Putin with S.V. Lavrov and S.K. Shoigu. It was noted that the formations, with which the agreements were reached, control most part of central and northern Syria, which is not subject to the power of Damascus. The total number of these detachments is more than 69 thousand militants. Simultaneously, similar work was conducted with the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic . An important, even key difference of the signed Agreements from what Russia had agreed with the United States in the past was that the opposition indicated the exact coordinates of the location and the settlements it controls. Organizations that do not cease hostilities will, according to the Agreements, pass to the category of terrorists, and exactly the same actions will be taken against them as against ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra . It was also noted that the Egyptians will be involved in the Astana process of organizing negotiations on the political settlement of the crisis, and at a subsequent stage — other region players (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iraq, Jordan), as well as Americans, but only after the formation of the corresponding team by D. Trump.
Of course, there were difficulties connected with ensuring the implementation of the agreements reached. Thus, right after its announcement, Iran sent signals that there were allegedly not enough consultations with him in developing conditions for the introduction of a regime for the cessation of hostilities in Syria. The Turkish side also presented a surprise in the form of statements by groups and representatives of the so-called «civil society» on the situation in Wadi Barada, where there is a large water intake of drinking water Ain al-Fiji, providing water to Damascus. The oppositionists crashed down on the «regime» for allegedly carrying out «barbarous attacks» in Wadi Barada and threatened to withdraw from the agreement on the RCH .
The purpose of keeping the situation «on the ground» under control was complex and extended beyond the framework of the Russian-Turkish mechanism for monitoring the RCH. The truce created the basis for solving the problems that enable us to reach a comprehensive Syrian settlement: the introduction of measures to restore confidence, the opening of humanitarian access, the beginning of a direct dialogue between the warring parties on a range of issues (de-escalation of the situation «on the ground», the parameters of the new Constitution, the withdrawal of foreign formations, joint fight against terrorism), launching of negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations, etc. The widening of the agenda of the «triangle» Russia-Iran-Turkey reflected the objective trends related to the demonstration of the effectiveness of the format, which included Moscow and the two most important regional players, so it resulted in the creation of the «Astana format» of the Syrian settlement.
The first international meeting on Syria in Astana was held on January 23-24, 2017, with the participation of the guarantor-countries of the RCH — Russia, Iran and Turkey, as well as the United States and the United Nations. During this meeting, for the first time it was possible to seat at the same negotiating table the representatives of those Syrian parties who fought «on the ground» with weapons in their hands (the government delegation was headed by the Permanent Representative of the SAR to the United Nations B. Jaafari, a militant group — the representative of the «Jaysh al-Islam» group M. Allush).
The result was a statement by Russia, Iran and Turkey, in which the «troika» pledged to work to consolidate the regime of the cessation of hostilities, build confidence, provide humanitarian access. The statement expressed the determination to jointly combat terrorism and to achieve the separation of ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and moderate groups. It was also recorded the readiness of armed groups to participate in the inter-Syrian negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations.
An important decision was related to the establishment of a tripartite mechanism — the Joint Group — to oversee the RCH, which included Russia, Iran, Turkey and the United Nations. It was also provided for the possibility of involving Syrian conflicting parties in case of need to solve specific problems «on the ground».
The «Astana platform» is based on the «triangle» — Russia, Turkey and Iran. This allows to provide the most prompt solution of specific problems in a compact format, which contributes to the awareness of each member of the «triangle» of a sense of responsibility for the implementation of certain agreements, does not allow the «friability» inherent in the International Syria Support Group and even, as it turned out, in the «Lausanne» format , whose number of participants is inversely proportional to their effectiveness. At the same time, in view of the multiplicity of forces fighting in Syria «on the ground», it is envisaged to attract other interested states to work on the «Astana platform». Thus, at the second International meeting on Syria in Astana (6-7 February 2017) Jordan took part as an observer. It was Amman that helped to bring the «Southern Front» groups to the observance of the regime of the cessation of hostilities, because the Jordanians, unlike the Turks, have influence on these groups. Depending on the situation, an opportunity is open to invite other countries — Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Qatar, etc. — to Astana to assist in resolving specific issues on the agenda of the meetings. Despite the fact that the US ambassador to Kazakhstan, G. Krol quite passively participated in the consultations on the Astana site, the very fact of the presence of American representatives at events in the «Astana format» is very important. It is very likely that with the formulation of the political line of the administration of D. Trump in the Middle East in general, and in Syria in particular, the need for American participation in the Astana meetings will intensify. This is important to keep in mind. If in Astana it will be possible to agree on the coordination of the forces of the government of the SAR and the opposition to defeat the jihadists, and Russia and the US will finally be able to jointly carry out airstrikes against the radicals, a serious step will be taken towards implementing the initiative of V.V. Putin to create an international front to fight terrorism.
And, finally, the launching of the Astana format by Russia, Turkey and Iran has become a powerful stimulus for the United Nations to resume the political process of the Syrian settlement: another round of inter-Syrian negotiations has begun, which Russia has been struggling to achieve since April 2016. In many respects, fearing that Astana will pull over on itself a political issues and remain the only platform for the Syrian settlement, at which the UN will play an auxiliary role, the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for Syria, S. de Mistura, decided to restart the inter-Syrian dialogue in Geneva (it was launched on February 23, 2017).
It seems, the parallel work of the Astana and Geneva formats of the Syrian settlement, the healthy competition between the two sites, will allow to eventually identify the most demanded formulas for discussing certain aspects of the Syrian «dossier», show the optimal combination of parties concerned, necessary to resolve the conflict in the conditions of a transforming world order, having features of polycentricity.
 Maclean W., Finn T. Qatar Will continue to Arm Syria Rebels Even if Trump Ends U.S. Backing / W. Maclean, T. Finn // Reuters. 26 November 2016.
 This is more than 20 illegal armed formations: Jabhat Fatah Al-Sham, Ahrar Al-Sham, Faylaq al-Sham, Liwa al-Haq, Ajnad al-Sham, Turkistan Islamic Party, Jaysh al-Sunnah, Liwa al-Tawhid, Jaysh al-Islam, Jaysh al-Muhajirin Wal-Ansar, detachments of FSA, Jabhat al-Asala Wal-Tanmiya, Liwa Sultan Murad, Liwa al-Sultan Muhammad al-Fatih, Kataib Turkoman Syria, Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki, Jund al-Aqsa, Jaysh al-Sham, Jund al-Islam, Jaysh al-Tahrir, Liwa Suqur al-Jabal, Al-Jabha al-Shamiyah.
 Joint Statement by the Foreign Ministers of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey on agreed steps to revitalize the political process to end the Syrian conflict, Moscow, 20 December 2016 //
 Svistunova I.A. Turkey and Iran in new geopolitical realities / I.A. Svistunova // Middle East and Modernity. 2016. No.50. P.151.
download the journal (in Russian).
 Tagiroglu M., Talebu B. Turkey and Iran: the Best of Frenemies / M. Tagiroglu, B. Talebu // Turkish Police Quarterly — 2015. Spring. P.122.
 Khanin V. Israel, Russia and Turkey: crossing vectors or a joint project? / V. Khanin // Middle East and Modernity. 2016. No.50. P.217.
download the journal (in Russian).
 In 2015, Iran was one of the ten largest trading partners of Turkey (8th place for import and 10th for exports).
 Meeting of Russian President V.V. Putin with Minister of Defense S.K. Shoigu and Minister of Foreign Affairs S.V. Lavrov. Moscow, December 29, 2016 //
 Statement on establishing the ceasefire regime in the Syrian Arab Republic. December 29, 2016. UN Document S/2016/1133.
enter S/2016/1133 in the ‘Symbol’ field here and press Enter.
 Agreement on the mechanism to record violations of the ceasefire regime declared in Syria that will take effect on 30 December 2016, and on the regime for applying sanctions to violators. December 29, 2016. UN Document S/2016/1133.
enter S/2016/1133 in the ‘Symbol’ field here and press Enter.
 Agreement on establishing delegations to launch negotiations on a political settlement aimed at a comprehensive resolution of the Syrian crisis by peaceful means. December 29, 2016. UN Document S/2016/1133.
enter S/2016/1133 in the ‘Symbol’ field here and press Enter.
 Meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. December 29, 2016 //
see footnote #8.
 Meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. December 29, 2016 //
see footnote #8.
 Free Syrian Army. General Comman and the Wadi Barada Valley Region. An Official Statement from the Revolutionary Military Factions in Wadi Barada Area. 2 January 2017; Official Statement of Wadi Barada Local Civil Society Entities. 31 December 2017.