Turkey calls on Iran to help stop ceasefire violations in Syria

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Syria peace talks planned for January in Kazakhstan could fail if regime forces do not stop violating the ceasefire.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A civilian rides a bicycle past a cemetery in the rebel-held, besieged Douma neighbourhood of Damascus, Syria.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday called on Tehran to pressure Iran-backed militias and the Syrian regime to stop violating a ceasefire in Syria, warning that the violations could jeapordise peace talks scheduled for later in January.

Cavusoglu said Turkey is working with Russia on the question of sanctions for those who violate the ceasefire, which Ankara and Moscow brokered.

Russia is working with Kazakhstan to set up the talks planned for the Kazakh capital, Astana.

Cavusoglu warned that, "If we do not stop the increasing number of violations the Astana process could fail. When we look to see who is responsible for the ceasefire violations, we see that it is Hezbollah and the Syrian regime."

The Turkish foreign minister also called on Iran to intervene: " Iran must exert pressure on Shia militias and the Syrian regime and stop the violations."

PYD excluded from process

Cavusoglu said Turkey had told Russia that the PYD, which Ankara considers to be the Syrian branch of the PKK, recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the EU and the US, should not be included in the Astana talks, and added that Moscow said it understood Ankara's position on the issue.

The Turkish foreign minister also said "The US is a very important ally for Turkey. We cooperate together on various different issues. But for the time being the truth is there is a confidence crisis."

"We know PYD/YPG forces are in Manbij, and President Erdogan told President Obama this last night. Obama has said that he agrees with us on the fact that these forces must leave and move to east of the Euphrates' river."

Reuters, TRTWorld and agencies