Cavusoglu: Syrian government's Idlib offensive jeopardizes peace

Antalya, Turkey - The Syrian government offensive against the rebel stronghold of Idlib threatens to jeopardize combined Turkish, Russian and Iranian efforts for peace ahead of upcoming talks, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said late Wednesday.

The Foreign Ministry in Ankara had recently summoned the ambassadors of Russia and Iran to protest their ongoing military operations in Idlib, Cavusoglu told German journalists in the city of Antalya in western Turkey.
"We reminded them that they are the guarantor powers of the [Syrian] regime," he said.
Turkey has troops stationed in Idlib - the only Syrian province still under rebel control - as part of a deal reached last year with Russia and Iran to turn the province into a so-called de-escalation zone.
Turkey and Russia, along with Iran, are part of the Astana process, a political initiative aimed at reducing violence in Syria. Moscow and Tehran back the Syrian government while Turkey has supported the rebels.
"The [Syrian] regime has damaged the ceasefire, the regime has attacked, the regime has killed innocent people," Cavusoglu said. "If things continue in this way, the Astana process and possible upcoming Sochi process will be undermined."
Russia, Turkey and Iran agreed in December to hold a so-called "Syrian People's Congress" in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi on January 29 and 30. Representatives from various Syrian groups are to discuss ways of resolving the conflict.

Thursday, January 11th 2018

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