Turkey on Thursday condemned the Bashar al-Assad regime’s attacks in southwestern Daraa and Quneitra.
In a news conference, Turkish Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Hami Aksoy recalled the civilian deaths in Daraa and Quneitra and said: “We strongly condemn and damn these attacks. These attacks sabotage the Astana and Geneva efforts on reducing violence and finding political solution to the crisis.”
“We do not want the scenario experienced in Eastern Ghouta, Northern Homs and now in southwestern Syria to be also experienced in Idlib,” he added.
Aksoy also recalled President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on July 14, saying if the regime advances toward Idlib, Astana agreement would dissipate.
He stressed that the regime tries to find solution to crisis via military means and said such ways would not lead to “legitimate ruling.”
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.
Following peace talks held last year in Astana, Daraa and Quneitra were both designated as “de-escalation zones” in which acts of aggression are prohibited.
Regarding the working group meeting held on July 13 between Turkey and the U.S., Aksoy said: “During the meeting, we especially urged U.S. to not delay matters pertaining to terrorist FETO [Fetullah Terrorist Organization].”
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen are behind the July 15, 2016 defeated coup, which martyred 251 people and injured 2,200, as well as a wide-ranging conspiracy in the military, police, and judiciary.
He noted the matters pertaining to extradition of FETO leader Gulen, the U.S. trial of former Halkbank Deputy CEO Mehmet Hakan Atilla, judicial cooperation between the two countries and prisoned U.S. citizens in Turkey were discussed during the recent working group meeting.
Following a visit by former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Ankara in February, Turkey and the U.S. established a mechanism to address separate issues in working groups, including the stabilization of Manbij, a northern Syrian city, and to prevent undesirable clashes.