Turkey summons US Chargé d'Affaires over Syria issue

Frederick Owens
January 13, 2018

The Turkish foreign minister noted that Damascus could not have made big military advances without the active support of Russian Federation and Iran.

However, Syrian regime forces, with Russian backing have stepped up attacks trying to regain control of the area controlled by the rebels.

Turkey protested the Syrian regime's advance into the rebel- stronghold on the grounds that regime troops are targeting moderate opposition in Idlib, arguing that the move undermined prospects of an upcoming meeting in Black Sea resort Sochi on January 29-30, where the regime and opposition groups will seek peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict.

Russia's ambassador to Ankara, Alexei Yerkhov and Iranian ambassador Mohammad Ebrahim Taherian Fard were called in to express Turkey's discontent over the continuing attacks in Idlib.

Cavusoglu emphasised that in efforts to bring peace to Syria, Russia and Iran were the "guarantors" of the regime side and Turkey of the opposition.

Minister of Foreign and Expatriates Affairs Ayman Safadi and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu affirmed the importance of continuing coordination and consultations to deal with ramifications of the United States decision to recognize occupied Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"What I am seeing here is the use of the presence of al Nusra and HTS as an excuse to attack civilians and the moderate opposition", he stated.

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It has repeatedly condemned Washington's support for the YPG.

Turkey has became the guarantor of some "moderate" rebel groups, while Iran and Russian Federation is responsible for the acts of Syrian government. "They have a different intention". Turkey also sees the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), and believes it is waging an insurgency against the Turkish state. Parties are still carrying on talks for the list of participants. According to a Turkish diplomatic source, the ministry "voiced its reaction and concerns in this regard, also asking them to convey the information to the [Syrian] regime in order to make it stop such actions". Iran has its own strategic goals in "finishing off" what remains from the opposition forces in Idlib.

The ministry has written to the chiefs of the Turkish army and intelligence service to insist that the terms of a cease-fire are upheld, the newspaper said.

Idlib province is nearly entirely controlled by anti-government forces that are dominated by a jihadist outfit known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) consisting mostly of former fighters from the Al-Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliate.

Russia's relations with Turkey have suffered a blow due to the latest developments in Syria.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the issue was discussed with the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura during his recent visit to Moscow.

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