RFL/RE – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has called on Russia and Iran to fulfill their obligations under a peace plan for Syria and prevent attacks by Syrian government forces in Idlib Province, saying the violations could not happen without their support.
In a January 10 interview with state-run news agency Anadolu, Cavusoglu accused Syrian government forces of attacking moderate opposition fighters under the guise of fighting Islamic extremists.
He also called on Russia and Iran, the two main allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, to halt their air strikes on rebel-held parts of Idlib Province near the border with Turkey.
Cavusoglu also announced that Ankara would host a meeting on Syria with “like-minded countries” after a meeting in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, where Russia is planning to host a Syrian “congress of national dialogue” on January 29-30.
His remarks came after Syrian government forces on January 8 captured 14 villages as they advanced on Idlib, the largest rebel-held enclave in northern Syria.
Turkey says the Syrian government advance has been supported by waves of air strikes by Russian and Iranian warplanes.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry says the Sochi gathering is part of an effort to resolve Syria’s nearly seven-year war on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions and encourage direct talks in Geneva between Syrian government representatives and moderate Syrian “opposition” delegates.
Dozens of rebel groups have rejected plans for the meeting, contending that Russia has not put pressure on Assad’s government to reach a political settlement.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, SANA, and Anadolu