By Burcu Arik
The Turkish and Lebanese foreign ministers on Friday called for an immediate ceasefire in Syria.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil in Beirut, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stressed his country’s appreciation for Lebanon’s sacrifices in hosting refugees fleeing from war-torn Syria.
"We, too, host 3 million refugees, 2.8 million of whom came from Syria," Cavusoglu said, adding that the conflict next door had deeply impacted both Turkey and Lebanon.
With a view to both fighting terrorism and stemming the refugee influx, said Cavusoglu, "Syria’s stability and security must be enhanced".
He went on to say that Turkey and Lebanon had a common understanding of the situation.
"The ceasefire [in Syria] should go into effect immediately… the situation in Aleppo and Syria is a source of concern for all of us," he asserted.
Cavusoglu said both Turkey and Lebanon agreed on the need for a political solution to the conflict.
"We must defeat the terror organizations that pose a direct threat to our security and stability," he added.
"We should have a better strategy for defeating Daesh, the Nusra Front and other terrorist organizations that Turkey is actively fighting," the FM said.
Bassil, for his part, said the Lebanese position vis-à-vis Syria was clear.
"It [i.e., the question of who will rule Syria] is not the decision of Lebanon; it is the decision of the Syrian people," he said.
"The choice should be left to the Syrian people. They will decide the future and the regime," Bassil added. "We have to respect their decision."
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests -- which erupted as part of the "Arab Spring" uprisings -- with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have been killed and millions more displaced by the conflict.
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