Turkish FM calls on Iran, Russia to fulfill responsibilities in Syria

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (Abdulhamid Hosbas / Anadolu Agency)

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Wednesday called on the governments of Iran and Russia to fulfill their responsibilities as guarantor states in Syria.

“Iran and Russia should fulfill their responsibilities [as guarantor states] in Syria,” Çavuşoğlu said in remarks to the Anadolu news agency.

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

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

“If you are the guarantors — and you are — you should stop the regime. It’s not just a simple airstrike. The regime is on the move in Idlib. The intention here is different.”

Çavuşoğlu warned that the move would undermine the peace process in Syria and underlined that Turkey was 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 were hiding there.

On Tuesday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry had summoned the Russian and Iranian ambassadors following the Assad regime’s attacks on Idlib.

Speaking about an upcoming summit on Syria in the Russian city of Sochi later this month, Çavuşoğlu said the guarantor countries should decide who would join the 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 at the talks, which would undermine a political solution, Çavuşoğlu said.

“We do not think it is possible, but we had said in advance that Turkey … will not join the process with the YPG [People’s Protection Units].”

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