‘Iran, Russia ‘should fulfill responsibilities’ in Syria’

Monitoring Desk

ANKARA: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday called on the government of Iran and Russia to fulfill their responsibilities as guarantor states in Syria.

“Iran and Russia should fulfill the responsibilities [as guarantor states] in Syria,” Cavusoglu said in remarks made at Anadolu Agency Editors’ Desk in Ankara.

His comment came in a reaction to recent attack of Bashar al-Assad regime on moderate opposition groups in northwestern Idlib city.

He noted that the Syrian regime forces were targeting the moderate opposition groups “on the pretext of fighting Al-Nusra terrorist group”.

“If you are the guarantors — yes you are — you should stop the regime. It’s not just a simple airstrike. The regime is moving in Idlib. The intent here is different.”

Cavusoglu warned that such a move would undermine the peace process in Syria. He underlined that Turkey is the guarantor of the moderate opposition.

The foreign minister added that it was not appropriate to bomb the whole city on the pretext that some terrorists are hiding there.

“If there is a terrorist organization there, these groups should be determined and their location should be determined. Careful operations should be carried out with intelligence from the ground or with the technology,” he added.

On Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Ministry had summoned Russian and Iranian ambassadors following Bashar al-Assad regime’s attacks in Syrian city of Idlib.

Speaking about the upcoming summit on Syria in the Russian coastal city of Sochi later this month, Cavusoglu said the guarantor countries should decide who to join talks.

Sochi is the designated venue of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, which is planned to be held on Jan. 29-30 with the participation of about 1,700 people.

Turkey is opposed to the presence of terrorist groups in the talks, which would undermine a political solution, Cavusoglu said.

“We do not think that it is possible, but we had said in advance that Turkey… will not join the process with YPG,” the foreign minister added.

The PKK/PYD and its military wing YPG are Syrian branches of the PKK terrorist network, which has waged war against Turkey for more than 30 years.

Despite Turkey’s objections, the U.S. has provided the PKK/PYD with arms, calling it an ally in the fight against Daesh, but ignoring its terrorist group status.

Cavusoglu rejected that PYD/YPG was the only representative of Kurdish population in Syria.

“Who designated the terrorist group as their representative? This may happen only when radical groups force them to submission.”

He called on to revive Geneva peace talks in which he said “nothing has been discussed so far.”

“We will hold a meeting of foreign ministers in Turkey after Sochi [talks]. We are trying to determine the date…”The foreign minister also underlined that the U.S. arming of PKK terrorist group’s Syrian wing PYD/YPG  and Washington’s refusal to extradite Fetullah Gulen, head of Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) were the two major issues “poisoning” Turkey-U.S. relations.